Sunday, 11 February 2018

Devoted frog fathers guard their eggs from predators

A study led by Ph.D. candidate Mr K. S. Seshadri from the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore's Faculty of Science has revealed that male white-spotted bush frogs (Raochestes chalazodes) dedicatedly guard their fertilised eggs from other cannibalistic male frogs and predators. The study confirmed that the adult male white-spotted bush frogs are the sole caregivers of their offspring, predominantly by attending to and guarding the eggs.

The Raochestes chalazodes, presumed extinct until its rediscovery in 2011 in the Western Ghats of India, is currently listed as critically endangered. Incidentally, Mr Seshadri was one of the researchers who rediscovered the frogs. While frogs typically lay their eggs in or above standing water, white-spotted bush frogs lay their eggs inside the hollow internodes of reed bamboo that grow along streambanks and their offspring emerge from the eggs as fully-formed froglets.

Courtship and paternal instincts of tiny white-spotted bush frogs
Although an adult Raochestes chalazodes is typically about two centimetres in length, it enters the narrow openings of the reed bamboo internodes with considerable resistance as the openings are even smaller – often less than 5 to 10 millimetres long and 3 to 4 millimetres wide. For the study, the researchers used pipe inspection cameras or endoscopes to observe frog egg clutches daily until all froglets and the attending father frogs left the spawning site. They studied a total of over 40 egg clutches across two breeding seasons in 2015 and 2016.

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