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Aug 22 2011

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Frogs with fangs

These frogs are found on the island of Sulawesi, the same place as that giant-mandibled wasp. I think I sense a theme developing.

(via National Geographic)

(Also on Sb)

29 comments

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  1. 1
    Glen Davidson

    Not for flies, I’m betting.

    Probably got tired of being called toothless swamp slime, going to bite the next one who dares say it.

    Glen Davidson

  2. 2
    Zinc Avenger

    *sigh* Crocoduck, not Crocofrog. Back to the drawing board, Darwin.

  3. 3
    ibyea

    The theme? Hmmm… They are all ugly?

  4. 4
    Sili

    Hens with teeth!

    Pigs in Space!

    Dogs and cats living together!

  5. 5
    HornyBonobo

    Oh that mouth. I need to stick my penis in it. My penis is in its mouth, in its mouth, yes, oh yes, my big smelly penis is in its mouth, I’m gojng to, going to, going to……ahhhhhh….AHHHHH I’M BLEEDING!

  6. 6
    feralboy12

    But he turns into a charming prince if you kiss him, right?

  7. 7
    llewelly

    oh, how cute. A baby froghemoth.

  8. 8
    ibyea

    @feralboy
    I think it would turn into a serial killer.

  9. 9
    EvoMonkey

    feralboy12 @ 6:

    But he turns into a charming prince if you kiss him, right?

    Maybe not a prince but a count. Ah, ah, ah! I will now count all the fangs on that frog – a one, a two. Two fangs! Ah, ah, ah!

  10. 10
    Sili

    I see what you did there.

    (Or I did, when I stopped WTFing and saw the ‘nym.)

  11. 11
    Putting On The Foil

    “My Presssscioussssssssssss… Gollum!”

  12. 12
    Art

    Given the soft-bodied nature of frogs, hunting prey of any significant size comes with a risk of debilitating damage, I would think that the next thing you might see after developing fangs is a poison to make your food less likely to cause damage as it gets swallowed.

    Give it a few hundred years. When you go to drain the swamp it isn’t going to be the alligators that you will be worrying about. It will be the poisonous fanged frogs.

    I get the feeling that in the year 2500 ancient recordings of Kermit the frog from will take on ominous tones and will tend to alarm and frighten children instead of entertaining them and bringing joy. Denise the Menace, who had the endearing habit of presenting his teachers with bullfrogs, will be seen as a young sociopath and potential murderer.

  13. 13
    joed

    Is there poison associated with these fangs?
    Which type of poison?
    Do these frogs eat fish or other water animals?
    Are fanged frogs found in other parts of the world?

  14. 14
    MAtheist

    The title says frog, but my brain says ophidian

  15. 15
    evilDoug

    These National Geographic posts always leave me feeling a little annoyed (by Nat Geo, not by Mary!). Beautiful photographs, but a Twaddle Twitteresque approach to the text. Rather like they are afraid people have an interest span of a very limited number of words. Often there are only common names, often size info is lacking (e.g. from this series: “Some are the size of a human thumb, while others, like Limnonectes species I, are much larger.” Swell. How instructive.) and on and on. Like joed @13, I want more info!
    (I recently got into a discussion with someone at the local zoo, stating very bluntly that I thought the zoo does a terrible job of education, for similar reasons. It turned out it was the director of ed for the zoo that I was talking to. I think I hurt her feelings. But I do wish people would realize that “the lowest common denominator” is useful in math, but not so much elsewhere.)

  16. 16
    Nekura

    I’ve known frogs had fangs since I was a child. ^_^

  17. 17
    ChasCPeterson

    IIRC (and with any luck Marjanović will be along shortly to confirm or refute) those aren’t even teeth, just spiky projections of the jawbone. So no, no venom. It’s doubtless an intrasexually selected, males-only weapon.
    Off to confirm these suspicions and then to report back.

  18. 18
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    A heard all this talk about frogs and I saw this Toad hucking gold on the side bar.

    I was very confused.

  19. 19
    ChasCPeterson

    yep on the bone-protrusions rather than teeth, via the Nat Geo link in the OP. And males definitely have larger fangs; see here and here (2nd link is Conway-Morris’s slightly creepy convergent-evolution-gee-whiz-so-I-guess-God site).

    worldview retained

  20. 20
    ChasCPeterson

    oh but females evidently have fangs too; they may be used in feeding on large prey, but this seems largely conjectural.

  21. 21
    scarina

    Looks like Kermit has finally had enough. You don’t want ot know what he’s going to do to that jerk, Elmo.

  22. 22
    Markita Lynda, admirer of roadkill

    It does look rather snakelike!

    I have the same feeling about the info labels at the Science Centre or, as I call it, the Technology Centre. They’ll say things like “nylon is formed by the mixing of two liquids” without TELLING YOU WHAT THEY ARE! *pulls out hair in frustration*

  23. 23
    David Marjanović, OM

    Unsurprisingly, comments 19 and 20 are right. The things in this picture are prongs of bone, probably covered by keratin… they’re not teeth, they’re horns. :-) Such things have evolved several times among frogs, because frogs, with the exception of one fascinating reversal, have been lacking teeth in the lower jaw altogether for at least 250 million years now.

    (Some, for instance true toads, are even completely toothless.)

    And no, there are no known venomous frogs. Their poison glands are in their skin.

    They’ll say things like “nylon is formed by the mixing of two liquids” without TELLING YOU WHAT THEY ARE!

    A dicarboxylic acid and a diamine. Nylon is a lot like a protein.

  24. 24
    StevoR

    PZ, methinks this poll :

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/freeping_oursay.php

    needs urgent “pharyngulation” – please help!

    The Aussie Climate Deniers have already being “bolting” it. :-(

  25. 25
    puppygod

    Denise the Menace, who had the endearing habit of presenting his teachers with bullfrogs, will be seen as a young sociopath and potential murderer.

    You mean, he isn’t already?

    I always thought of him as somebody who should be shot – and every court would consider it a clear case of self-defence.

  26. 26
    bbgunn

    Despite the dirt, that appears to be a nicely manicured digit in Froggy’s mouth. And said digit looks to be well within range of a puncturing by that spikey mandible.

  27. 27
    rumtopf

    A challenger appears

    Not quite as sharp, but there’s three of them :D

  28. 28
    truthspeaker

    @ #15 – That’s why I stopped reading National Geographic. It was like reading a science magazine geared toward 6th-graders.

  29. 29
    Art

    Puppygod says @25, there is something to that. He has all the signs of turning into a callow frat boy and the sort of sociopath that makes it big on Wallstreet with other people’s money.

    But I always figured he had ADD, poor impulse control; and, despite the father being depicted as doting and wise, unguided, if not neglected. There is also the good chance his mother and girlfriend might give him some lessons in empathy.

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