Everything You Need To Know About Frogs – There are over 5,000 species of frogs in the world – more than 100 in North America alone. Frogs show a tremendous amount of biodiversity in their calls, coloration, body type, and behavior. These amazing adaptations of frogs have helped them survive in habitats around the world.
In this activity, you will learn all about the ways in which frogs adapt to their environment and then create your own species of frog.
Everything You Need To Know About Frogs
For this activity, you can design both, but it’s important to know the difference. Frogs often have moist, slimy, smooth skin; frogs usually have drier skin with warts. As a result, toads usually live in or near water, such as lakes, ponds, and streams, while toads spend more time on land because their skin is more waterproof. Toads still need moisture, but not as much as frogs. Frogs and toads have evolved over time to be adapted to their habitats.
Target Everything You Need To Know About Frogs And Other Slippery Creatures
Frogs and toads live all over the world, except for Antarctica and Greenland. They are most often found in warm, humid habitats. Frogs and toads are often found in forests, rainforests, and water areas, but some species make their homes in deserts and even tundra north of the Arctic Circle!
When designing a frog or toad, where it lives should determine many of its characteristics – the frog must be well adapted to its habitat. For example, some frogs and toads live in dry climates, such as deserts. They dig deep into the dirt or sand to stay moist. Their slimy mucus can harden to keep them from drying out.
Use the presentation provided or other resources to research different types of frogs. Think about these questions as you do:
Many species of frogs and toads have coloration that matches their surroundings. This camouflage helps them hide from predators. Some frogs and toads are poisonous or have an unpleasant taste. Their skin color can be brightly colored to deter predators. Other frogs may have lightning marks – bright spots on their thighs – that startle predators when they jump and move. Frogs and toads may also have stripes on their backs, brightly colored bellies, spots and patches, or eye masks. These markings help frogs survive in their habitat and help people identify different species.
Let’s Learn About Amphibians
Frogs come in many sizes and shapes, from the size of your fingertip to the size of a small cat! Toads generally have wider bodies, with hind legs that are shorter than their bodies. Frogs tend to have thinner, longer bodies and legs longer than the head and body combined. A frog’s snout (nose) can be rounded or pointed. They also have two nostrils on the top of their head next to the mouth. Some frogs have parotid glands on the back, neck, or shoulders. These glands secrete a toxin to deter predators. Each feature gives the frog an advantage in its habitat.
Frog paws are very adapted to where the frog lives and how it interacts with its habitat. Tree frogs that live in trees often have broad sticky toe pads or long toe discs that can wrap around branches and vegetation. Aquatic frogs that live in water often have webs between their toes, most commonly on their hind legs, to help them swim. Terrestrial frogs that live on the ground or dig holes have strong toes and rough, bumpy feet that help them dig and crawl. Some frogs also have highly specialized claws or claw-like fingers. Others have shovels — small, sharp bony projections on their hind legs — that help with digging.
The frog’s pupils come in seven shapes! Horizontal slits are the most common, but there can also be vertical slits, diamonds, circles, triangles, fans, and inverted fans. The color of the iris is also different. Scientists don’t yet know how these differences affect the frog’s vision, but they do know that the bulging eyes on top of the frog’s head help them see in front, to the side, and behind them.
Frog ears are very different from ours. Just behind the eyes, they have a round tympanum or tympanic membrane, which is a bit like our eardrum. This outer membrane sends sound waves to the frog’s inner ear, which is protected by water. The size of the tympanum varies with the species of frog, but can be very helpful in identifying their species.
A Flurry Of Frog Legs
Frogs take air through their nostrils and mouth into their lungs, then push the air back out through their vocal cords, which vibrate in the larynx, just like us. But frogs also have a flexible membrane called a vocal sac that makes sound louder and travel farther. Frogs use muscles to move air back and forth between the lungs and vocal sac, creating resonance and amplifying the sound.
Not all frogs have teeth, but many have small maxillary teeth on their upper jaw. They may also have bony vomer teeth in the upper part of their mouth behind the ridge of their upper jaw. Only one frog – Gunther’s marsupial – has canines, which are teeth on the lower jaw. Several species of frogs have tooth-like projections on the lower jaw called odontoids. Frogs do not use their teeth to chew. They use them to catch and hold insects, snails, slugs or worms, which they capture with their long sticky tongues and swallow whole. Toads have no teeth at all.
Check out the examples provided in the presentation or other resources. Consider these questions as you plan your frog design:
Use the Design A Frog worksheet to plan your frog. Where will he live? How it looks? How has it adapted to the environment? Consider the area in which you live. Can you design a frog to live there? Or maybe you’d like to design a frog to live in a rainforest or a city park or on Mars! Whatever you decide, make sure his body will help him be successful in his habitat.
What You Need To Know About Pet Frogs
The next sketch of your frog. Try to draw it from different sides – from above, below, from the side, from the front. Point out special features such as pupils, teeth or the pattern on his skin. How big is your frog? Mark its size on the sketch or draw a reference image to show its size. Consider his body type, legs, feet, eyes, skin and other characteristics. Your drawing doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s there to give others an idea of what you’ve designed.
Once you’re done, create a 3D model of your frog. Use clay (or other craft materials) to build your frog model. As you design your amphibian, think about where it lives and how its body will help it survive. In the example above, a student decides to create a poisonous frog that has purple and blue warning colors. It is adapted to live in the clouds and has hummingbird-like wings to help it move, instead of developing long, strong legs. What story does your frog model tell?
Try to hide your frog in the real world. Does its camouflage protect it from predators or warn them to stay away? Take pictures of your frog and share them! Tag us @scifri on social media, or if you prefer a private, kid-safe place to share your idea, join the Science Friday Flip community. It’s free and you’ll be able to see what other people have done too.
Like other amphibians, frogs and toads have thin skin that is permeable and allows gases like oxygen and liquids like water to pass through them. This helps frogs breathe underwater. They can absorb oxygen through their skin and into their blood vessels even when hibernating. However, this makes them very sensitive to water loss, environmental changes and environmental pollution.
New Research: Why Do Some Frogs Have Teeth?
A decline in frog populations is usually an early sign that something is wrong in the ecosystem. Frogs are a keystone species that affects the lives of many other organisms. For example, frogs eat a lot of insects, but they are also a food source for birds. Fewer frogs in an area will affect both insect and bird populations, which can cause a chain reaction throughout the ecosystem. Researchers keep a close eye on how many and what species of frogs and toads are in critical habitats—frogs are indicators of the health of our environment.
You can help too! Through programs like FrogWatch, HerpMapper, and Global Amphibian BioBlitz, you can participate in grassroots scientific efforts to track frog species and report that data back to scientists. But first you need to learn a little about frogs so you can identify the frogs you find. See “Introduction to the Frog” below, a guide from the folks at the frog watch program, FrogWatch USA:
Learn the basics about frogs and how you can help scientists track their health from Carrie Bassett of FrogWatchUSA. This recording is part of a series of citizen science webinars hosted by Science Friday in April 2023.
As we discussed above, frogs have a variety of sounds they can make. These calls indicate anxiety when there is danger or advertise a desire for a mate. Each species of frog has unique voices. Most often, males call at night to find a female. Females listen and follow the sound. You can learn what kind of frogs live
Common Frog Guide: How To Identify, What They Eat, And How To Help Them
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