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Scientists match unusual tadpoles to threatened horned frogs - Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

Giant horned frog adult (c) Luan Thanh-Nguyen
Giant horned frog adult (c) Luan Thanh-Nguyen

Scientists match unusual tadpoles to threatened horned frogs

Scientists at international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London), Indo-Myanmar Conservation, The Australian Museum and Hoang Lien National Park have identified the tadpoles of six species of Asian horned frogs found in Vietnam’s mountain forests.

This research helps solve one of the trickiest zoological puzzles: which tadpoles become which adult frogs. It is relatively simple in the UK where there are just four native species of frogs and toads, but in Vietnam there are more than 270.

“Frogs and their tadpoles look nothing like each other but it’s important to know which tadpole becomes which frog.” says lead author Benjamin Tapley, ZSL’s Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians. “It helps us detect the presence of a species, especially as adult frogs can be seasonally active and difficult to find, and allows us to identify which places might be important frog breeding sites that need protection.”

Researchers collected geographical data, took photos and morphological measurements of tadpoles, and compared their DNA to samples from adults of known frog species.

Posted on: 02 September 2020

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