Darwin’s Frog

The Darwin’s Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii), is a frog native to the forest streams of Chile and Argentina. It is named after Charles Darwin who discovered it on his world voyage, “Voyage of the Beagle”, on the HMS Beagle.

The frog is brown or green with a size of about 1.25 inches. Its front feet are not webbed, but some of the toes on the back feet are. It eats insects and other arthropods.

The most striking feature is the way the tadpoles are raised – inside the vocal sac of the male. The female lays about 30 eggs and then the male guards them for about 2 weeks, until they hatch. Then the male picks up all the survivors and carry around the developing young in their vocal pouch. The tadpoles develop in their baggy chin skin, feeding off their egg yolk. When the tiny froglets have developed (about half an inch) they hop out and swim away.

Darwin’s frog not only has to hunt, but also must hide from predators wanting to eat it. Its most reliable technique to avoid its hunter is camouflage. It lays on the ground looking like a dead leaf until the predator passes by.

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