Because its ear canals are too small, a Brazilian frog species has trouble leaping. Researchers from South Illinois University Edwardsville examined a range of frogs and toads and discovered that individuals of the genus Brachycephalus have the smallest semi-circular ear canals of any adult vertebrate. While these little frogs are lovely, their short ear canals prevent them from controlling their position in flight, resulting in some funny crash landings. While we already know that frogs evolved to leap before landing, this new study shows that having a narrower ear canal affects the frogs’ ability to balance and navigate their environment.
The research was reported in Science Advances. The vestibule systems of these little frogs have been known to suffer as a result of their small size. This implies the endolymph (the transparent fluid within the ear) doesn’t have enough room to travel around in the case of these small pumpkin toadlets. Because of Poiseuille’s Law, little frogs in mid-air are unable to maintain their body posture as they approach the earth, and frequently cartwheel into the leaf litter.
This is another another setback for frog-based leaping powers, since studies published last year revealed that dehydrated frogs can’t jump as far as they used to. Unfortunately, being a little frog that lands on your face on a regular basis makes you easy prey for any hungry predator searching for a quick dinner. To compensate for their weak landing ability, certain frogs have evolved predator protection tactics such as camouflage colors and toxicity, according to the researchers.
Frogs are known for being chirpy (much to the chagrin of this frog-phobic youngster), but recent research has demonstrated how hot and dry conditions can negatively influence amphibians’ jumping ability. New research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B has discovered that when frogs and toads lose water, they are unable to jump as far, posing a concern for their future on a warming globe.
Three species of frogs were studied: the coastal tailed frog (Ascaphus truei), the spadefoot toad (Spea intermontana), and the Pacific tree frog (Ascaphus pacificus) (Pseudacris regilla). The three amphibians have distinct environmental preferences, with A. truei preferring cold streams, S. intermontana thriving in the desert, and P. regilla a wanderer. Live specimens of all three species were placed in tanks with precise temperatures and levels of dehydration, allowing the researchers to manage the frogs’ body temperature and dehydration.