One species of Indonesian frog which was only recently discovered gives birth to live young, unlike most other amphibians.

An Indonesian frog known as the Limnonectes larvaepartus was only recently discovered, but now, in addition to being newly discovered – is completely unique in more ways than one. Frogs typically lay eggs, and that’s something that is common within all 6,455 species that cover Earth. That was the case until the Limnonectes larvaepartus came along. This species gives birth to live tadpoles. Most other species of frogs will lay eggs, and then over time those eggs will hatch and become tadpoles.

Jimmy McGuire of the University of California pointed out that “Reproduction in most frogs could not be more different from human reproduction. In this case, what is most interesting, ironically, is that the reproductive mode is more similar to our own.” These similarities that were otherwise unknown are interesting because they completely contradict what every other frog species on Earth does genetically when it comes to reproducing.

“The vast, vast majority of frogs have external fertilization. For mating, the male grips the female around the waist and releases sperm as she reeleases her eggs,” McGuire pointed out. That being said though, there are roughly a dozen species of frog that do utilize internal fertilization, where the egg is fertilized inside the female by the male. They’re incredibly rare though, and scientists are now beginning to ask questions regarding the reason for the evolution of this process in some species. Scientists wonder how the process has not evolved for most, or all species, while it has for this very small congregation of species. McGuire said, “It’s totally unclear why this mode of reproduction has not evolved more frequently.”

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The discovery was made over a year ago, during the summer in Sulawesi. McGuire thought that he was picking up a single frog, but realized afterward that as he picked up the female frog, she then gave birth to the tadpoles on his hand. This was the point at which he realized that he had discovered something incredibly unique. McGuire noted “As soon as I picked her up, she squirted tadpoles all over my hand.” Later findings that he noted in the same region proved to him that the females do actually give birth to live tadpoles. Something unique to most frog species.

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