Mexican Walking Fish

The Mexican Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a freshwater amphibian in the salamander family. It is also known as the Mexican Walking Fish, but it is not a fish. Toads, frogs, newts, salamanders and axolotl are amphibians, living partly in water and partly on land. However, the axolotl never leaves the water.

The Mexican Axolotl remains in the amphibian tadpole form, with gills, and never becomes an ‘adult’ with lungs. This is called partial metamorphosis. It has a wide head, and their eyes do not have eye-lids. It has four feathery external gills on the side of its head. It has little, under-developed legs. It is olive-green, with a lighter underbelly. It does not have scales – it has moist, smooth skin like the skin of frogs.

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Amazon Milk Frog

The Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix) is an arboreal amphibian. It is also called the Mission Golden-Eyed Tree Frog or the Blue Milk Frog.

The Amazon Milk Frog is light-grey with brown or black bands. As it ages, it develops bumpy skin. It looks like milk has been spilled on it, but the name actually refers to the milky fluid that it excretes when it is stressed.

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Schneider’s Toad

The Schneider’s Toad (Rhinella schneideri) is a common and widespread amphibian. It is also called the Cururu Toad or the Rococo Toad.

The Schneider’s Toad has a short, broad brownish-yellow body with a crested head. It has a whitish belly and throat. It has a rounded snout (nose). It has a distinctive visible tympanum (eardrum). Its eyes are large and bulging with line-shaped pupils. It does not have webbing between its toes. Its skin is rough and covered with blunt, spiny warts. The warts are light near the bottom and spotted with black on the top.

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Lake Patzcuaro Salamander

The Lake Patzcuaro Salamander (Ambystoma dumerilii) is an endangered freshwater amphibian. Frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, and axoltols are amphibians. It is also called the Lake Patzcuaro Achoque. It is related to the Mexican Axolotl.

The Lake Patzcuaro Salamander remains in its tadpole form for its whole life. It has feathery external gills, which it uses to breath. It is yellowish with a lighter shade on its underbelly. It has a large head, a tail, and short legs. It has four toes on its front legs and five toes on its back legs. It does not have scales – it has moist, smooth skin like the skin of frogs.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Blue Poison Dart Frog

The Blue Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates tinctorius azureus) is a medium-sized poisonous amphibian.

The Blue Poison Dart Frog has bright blue skin, with a darker blue belly and darker blue limbs. It has black spots. It has a hunched back. Each foot has four toes, with suction cups to grip surfaces. Males have heart-shaped tips on each toe, whereas females have rounded tips.

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How do frogs croak?

Male frogs croak to attract a female. Females respond with a different and quieter vocalization.

The croaking sound occurs when a frog forces air out of its lungs through its mouth. As the air passes its throat, its larynx (vocal chords) vibrate.

The vocal sacs or pouches distend and blow up like a balloon. The vocal sacs are elastic membranes of skin. Some frogs have the vocal sac under their throat, whereas other frogs have the vocal sac on the corner of their mouth.

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External Covering: from skin and scales to fur and feathers

External covering is the outside appearance of an animal. Animals can have fur, feathers, hair, short hair, long hair, smooth hair, bristles, skin, thick skin, moist skin, dry skin, scales, waterproof scales, small scales, overlapping scales, spikes, hard shells, soft shells, smooth shells, rough shells, wool, or no covering at all.

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Amazonian see-through glass frog is under threat of extinction

A newly discovered glass frog species whose beating heart is visible through its chest is already under threat of extinction, because its habitat is threatened by oil exploitation.

The frog (Hyalinobatrachium yaku) lives in the Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador.

“Not all glass frogs have hearts that are visible through the chest. In some, the heart itself is white, so you don’t see the red blood,” said Paul Hamilton, of the American non-profit organisation called the Biodiversity Group. Glass frogs need pristine (pure) streams to breed. “If the stream dries up, or becomes polluted, the frogs can’t survive,” said Hamilton.

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Iridescent scales, feathers and shells

Iridescence means shiny with many colours. Many animals have iridescent colours.

Iridescence is structural colour from refracted light (crystals), diffraction gratings (feathers or butterfly wings), thin film (oily surfaces), multiple layer interference (nacre in shells), or 3-D arrays of spheres (opals).

The word iridescence comes from iris, the Greek word for rainbow. An iridescent object has many tones of colour. Iridescence creates colour by splitting and reflecting light from different structures – which is why it is often called structural colour.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Caucasus Parsley Frog

In Tbilisi, Georgia, in the Botanical Garden is a lily pond. And in that pond is the Caucasus Parsley Frog.

The Caucasian Parsley Frog (Pelodytes caucasicus) has distinctive green markings on their back, just like sprigs of parsley leaves.

Georgia has 11 species of amphibians, most are frogs. Frogs, as opposed to toads, have bulging eyes, no tails, a longer slender body than toads, webbed hind feet, and smooth moist skin.

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