Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The underground adventures of the Mediterranean frog Rana iberica

Date:
April 30, 2013
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
Although many amphibians have been reported to live or spend part of their life underground, the Mediterranean frog Rana iberica, has never been reported dwelling in subterranean habitats until now. A new study marks the first record of all life stages of the species from a drainage gallery of Serra da Estrela Natural Park in Portugal.

This image shows a male Rana iberica climbing up the gallery wall.
Credit: Gonçalo M. Rosa/CC-BY 3.0

Do frogs live underground? The answer is yes, some amphibians, such as salamanders and frogs have been often reported to dwell in subterranean habitats, some of them completely adjusted to the life in darkness, and others just spending a phase of their lifecycle in an underground shelter. Up until 2010, however, no one suspected that the Mediterranean anuran frog Rana iberica -- commonly known as Iberian brown frog and usually found in streams -- also participates in underground adventures. A new study published in the open access journal Subterranean Biology confirms the first report of Rana iberica reproduction in a cave-like habitat, with all life stages observed in the galleries.

Related Articles


Serra da Estrela Natural Park is located in north-central Portugal and is the largest protected area and one of the most biodiverse regions in Portugal and the Iberian Peninsula. Several drainage galleries were created for water capture in the 1950s, even before the establishment of the boundaries of the Natural Park. It is namely in these artificial subterranean habitats that the Iberian brown frog was discovered dwelling underground by biologists.

"The unusual sighting of R. iberica motivated a series of subsequent visits that started in 2011 up until December 2012 to understand the use of this artificial subterranean habitat by this species.," explains the lead author of the study Dr. Gonçalo M. Rosa. "All life stages were observed in the gallery during the study period, particularly adults, which were observed every month of the year."

The Iberian brown frog does not only seek refuge in the drainage galleries as a sporadic visitor. During long observations, adults from the species have been noted in the galleries,often standing on the ground or in crevices, swimming underwater or even climbing up the walls. There is evidence of mating activity, and batches of eggs have been found stuck to submerged rocks in the subterranean stream. Recently hatched tadpoles were also observed, initially remaining stationary above the egg mass for about two weeks, then swimming in the streams and feeding on the dead egg mass. The galleries are used by other amphibians as well, and larvae of the fire salamander Salamandra salamandra gallaica have been recorded twice while preying on brown frog tadpoles.

The choice of the artificial drainage gallery for a habitat of the Iberian brown frog may appear odd initially. However, it seems that the animals find a refuge in the cool and humid tunnels, often containing a small stream. These artificial subterranean habitats are in fact often used as a refuge for many species. They are, for example, particularly important for the salamander Chioglossa lusitanica, an Iberian endemic of conservation concern. Scientists express their fear that such preferences for underground habitats might in fact be a sign for the ecological dangers of the dramatic climate changes experienced by the Iberian region. Monitoring the subterranean activity of various species might provide important cues for future conservation efforts.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gonçalo Rosa, Andreia Penado. Rana iberica (Boulenger, 1879) goes underground: subterranean habitat usage and new insights on natural history. Subterranean Biology, 2013; 11 (0): 15 DOI: 10.3897/subtbiol.11.5170

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "The underground adventures of the Mediterranean frog Rana iberica." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430131455.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2013, April 30). The underground adventures of the Mediterranean frog Rana iberica. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430131455.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "The underground adventures of the Mediterranean frog Rana iberica." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430131455.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) — Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) — A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
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