Portal:Frogs

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The Frogs Portal

Various types of frogs.

A frog is any member of a diverse and largely carnivorous group of short-bodied, tailless amphibians composing the order Anura (ανοὐρά, literally without tail in Ancient Greek). The oldest fossil "proto-frog" Triadobatrachus is known from the Early Triassic of Madagascar, but molecular clock dating suggests their split from other amphibians may extend further back to the Permian, 265 million years ago. Frogs are widely distributed, ranging from the tropics to subarctic regions, but the greatest concentration of species diversity is in tropical rainforest. Frogs account for around 88% of extant amphibian species. They are also one of the five most diverse vertebrate orders. Warty frog species tend to be called toads, but the distinction between frogs and toads is informal, not from taxonomy or evolutionary history.

An adult frog has a stout body, protruding eyes, anteriorly-attached tongue, limbs folded underneath, and no tail (the tail of tailed frogs is an extension of the male cloaca). Frogs have glandular skin, with secretions ranging from distasteful to toxic. Their skin varies in colour from well-camouflaged dappled brown, grey and green to vivid patterns of bright red or yellow and black to show toxicity and ward off predators. Adult frogs live in fresh water and on dry land; some species are adapted for living underground or in trees.

Frogs typically lay their eggs in water. The eggs hatch into aquatic larvae called tadpoles that have tails and internal gills. They have highly specialized rasping mouth parts suitable for herbivorous, omnivorous or planktivorous diets. The life cycle is completed when they metamorphose into adults. A few species deposit eggs on land or bypass the tadpole stage. Adult frogs generally have a carnivorous diet consisting of small invertebrates, but omnivorous species exist and a few feed on plant matter. Frog skin has a rich microbiome which is important to their health. Frogs are extremely efficient at converting what they eat into body mass. They are an important food source for predators and part of the food web dynamics of many of the world's ecosystems. The skin is semi-permeable, making them susceptible to dehydration, so they either live in moist places or have special adaptations to deal with dry habitats. Frogs produce a wide range of vocalizations, particularly in their breeding season, and exhibit many different kinds of complex behaviors to attract mates, to fend off predators and to generally survive. (Full article...)

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Adult male

The cane toad (Rhinella marina), also known as the giant neotropical toad or marine toad, is a large, terrestrial true toad native to South and mainland Central America, but which has been introduced to various islands throughout Oceania and the Caribbean, as well as Northern Australia. It is a member of the genus Rhinella, which includes many true toad species found throughout Central and South America, but it was formerly assigned to the genus Bufo.

The cane toad is an old species. A fossil toad (specimen UCMP 41159) from the La Venta fauna of the late Miocene in Colombia is indistinguishable from modern cane toads from northern South America. It was discovered in a floodplain deposit, which suggests the R. marina habitat preferences have long been for open areas. The cane toad is a prolific breeder; females lay single-clump spawns with thousands of eggs. Its reproductive success is partly because of opportunistic feeding: it has a diet, unusual among anurans, of both dead and living matter. Adults average 10–15 cm (4–6 in) in length; the largest recorded specimen had a snout-vent length of 24 cm (9.4 in). (Full article...)
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A San Carlos tree frog

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Featured frog and toad-related articles - Australian green tree frog - Cane toad - Common toad - Frog - Green and golden bell frog
Good frog and toad-related articles - American bullfrog - Boiling frog - Ecnomiohyla rabborum - Poison dart frog

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