Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Lungless Frog Discovered

Date:
April 8, 2008
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Researchers have confirmed the first case of complete lunglessness in a frog. The little aquatic frog apparently gets all the oxygen it needs through its skin. Previously known from only two specimens, two new populations of the aquatic frog were found by biologists during a recent expedition to Indonesian Borneo.

Researchers have confirmed the first case of complete lunglessness in a frog. This little aquatic frog apparently gets all the oxygen it needs through its skin.
Credit: Courtesy David Bickford

Researchers have confirmed the first case of complete lunglessness in a frog, according to a report in the April 8th issue of Current Biology. The aquatic frog Barbourula kalimantanensis apparently gets all the oxygen it needs through its skin.

Related Articles


Previously known from only two specimens, two new populations of the aquatic frog were found by the team during a recent expedition to Indonesian Borneo.

"We knew that we would have to be very lucky just to find the frog," said David Bickford of the National University of Singapore. "People have been trying for 30 years. But when we did and I was doing the initial dissections -- right there in the field -- I have to say that I was very skeptical at first [that they would in fact lack lungs]. It just did not seem possible. We were all shocked when it turned out to be true for all the specimens we had from Kalimantan, Indonesia.

"The thing that struck me most then and now is that there are still major firsts (e.g., first lungless frog!) to be found out in the field," he added. "All you have to do is go a little ways beyond what people have done before, and -- voila!"

Of all tetrapods (animals with four limbs), lunglessness is only known to occur in amphibians. There are many lungless salamanders and a single species of caecilian, a limbless amphibian resembling an earthworm, known to science. Nevertheless, Bickford said, the complete loss of lungs is a particularly rare evolutionary event that has probably only occurred three times.

The discovery of lunglessness in a secretive Bornean frog supports the idea that lungs are a malleable trait in amphibians, which represent the evolutionary sister group to all other tetrapods, according to the researchers. Barboroula kalimantanensis lives in cold, fast-flowing water, they noted, so loss of lungs might be an adaptation to a combination of factors: a higher oxygen environment, the species's presumed low metabolic rate, severe flattening of their bodies that increases the surface area of their skin, and selection for negative buoyancy--meaning that the frogs would rather sink than float.

The researchers said that further studies of this remarkable frog may be hampered by the species' rarity and endangerment. They therefore strongly encourage conservation of the frogs' remaining habitats.

"This is an endangered frog -- that we know practically nothing about -- with an amazing ability to breathe entirely through its skin, whose future is being destroyed by illegal gold mining by people who are marginalized and have no other means of supporting themselves," Bickford said. "There are no simple answers to this problem."

The researchers include David Bickford, National University of Singapore, Singapore; Djoko Iskandar and Anggraini Barlian, of Institut Teknologi Bandung, Java, Indonesia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "First Lungless Frog Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407123824.htm>.
Cell Press. (2008, April 8). First Lungless Frog Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407123824.htm
Cell Press. "First Lungless Frog Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407123824.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Two Andean bear cubs are unveiled at the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Alicia Powell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) — Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins