Frogs | Anura
Frogs | Anura
Anura, comprised of frogs or toads, is the most diverse of the three existing amphibian orders. There is no formal distinction between frogs and toads, just that toads are typically a more warty frog species. Frogs live in every biome except in extremely dry deserts and polar regions, however, their species diversity is most abundant in the tropics. Frogs are typically carnivores though some eat fruit, and all adult frogs, except one species, do not have tails—thus where the the name Anura, meaning “without tail,” came from. There are about 4,000 different species of frogs with the earliest known fossils dating back to the Jurassic period.
Frogs are known for their distinct anatomy. They have a compact, robust body, large eyes for keen vision, and a wide mouth. Notably, their long, powerful hind legs are adapted for exceptional jumping and swimming abilities. Their skin is smooth, moist, and often brightly colored, playing a role in respiration and protection through toxins. Frogs communicate using a diverse range of vocalizations, especially during mating season. Their acute hearing aids in detecting these calls. Tactile sense is also well-developed, assisting in navigation and prey capture. These biological qualities make frogs fascinating and highly adapted amphibians.
Frogs have captivated humans for centuries, symbolizing transformation and purity in various cultures. Their distinctive croaks echo in folklore and fairy tales, often portrayed as magical creatures. In modern pop culture, characters like Kermit the Frog have charmed audiences worldwide. Scientifically, frogs are vital for ecological balance, controlling insect populations and serving as bioindicators due to their sensitivity to environmental changes.
Unfortunately, their numbers are declining globally, prompting significant conservation efforts. Initiatives include habitat preservation, pollution control, and research into diseases like chytridiomycosis. Protecting frogs is crucial not only for biodiversity but also for maintaining the health of ecosystems where they play a key role.
Frogs are carnivores. A smaller frog’s diet consists of insects like flies, mosquitoes, moths, spiders, and dragonflies. Larger frogs also eat insects like grasshoppers, butterflies, and worms, and may even eat small snakes, mice, baby turtles, and other smaller frogs.
Frogs reproduce by the male and female frog getting into the mating posture, amplexus, to make sure the eggs become fertilized. Egg fertilization happens outside of the female’s body when she releases her eggs and the male releases his sperm at the same time. The eggs are then placed in water and will hatch into tadpoles which later become frogs.
In almost all frog species it is the males that croak and they do so to attract female frogs. Males frogs tend to croak while they are in or near a water source (ponds, dams, streams, or wetlands) with the intention of mating. Each frog species has a different croak and can be identified by it.