“Water-holding frogs – Take a big drink and hold it”

Living on the dry mudflats, grasslands, temporary swamps, claypans, and billabongs of Australia, this frog can hold enough water to hibernate until the next big rains come . Now that may not sound impressive, but the rains in dry seasons may not come for a year or more! It holds a large water supply in its’ bladder then seals itself inside a water tight cocoon or bag made from skin that has been shed. Now that shows self sufficiency.

The Water-holding frog Cyclorana platycephala. has small eyes and a flattened head. The coloring of the skin matches his habitat.  It is a dull gray through dark brown to green. The rounded shape of his body and a flattened head give him the appearance of water jar. They do not possess toe discs but have a hardened ridge on the under surface of the foot, which acts like a spade to assist in digging. Most species may have webbing between the toes. The male frog is 4.2 (1.65 inches) to 6.4 cm (2.6 inches)and the female is 5.0 (1.97 inches) to 7.2 cm (2.84 inches) in length. The hatched tadpoles can reach a maximum of 6.0 cm (2.4 inches) in length.

water- holding frog C.platycephala

water- holding frog C.platycephala

Another member of the Water-holding frog family is called the short-footed Water-holding frog (Cyclorana brevipes). It has a yellow-beige background color on its skin with broken brown stripes or blotches down its back.

Australian short-footed frog

Australian short-footed frog

All Water-holding frogs survive the dry months by encasing themselves in a ‘bag’ made from their skin. They ‘hibernate’ in this bag until the heavy rains return. When the rain water soaks into the area their hibernating in, touches their bag a hormonal signal is sent from their brain to wake up the body. Stimulated by the rain water, they know that conditions above are good for breeding. The frogs climb back to the surface, swallow the bag and find a mate and breed quickly before the waters dry up again. They will lay large amounts of spawn in still water after floods. The tadpoles will grow quickly and then burrow into the wet mud before their water hole has dried up.

Check out this video on these amazing frogs.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of animals.jrank.org/frogs

Excerpts courtesy of frogatlas.com.au/frogspecies/water-holding frog

Video courtesy of National Geographic.com and YouTube.com

URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuWo_kWMihs

Image 1. courtesy of frogs.org.au/Cplatycephala

Image 2. courtesy of frogs.org.au/JB-frog-Cycloranabrevipes-Male

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