ScienceDaily (Aug. 1, 2011) — Scientists led by Ben Evans of McMaster University have documented the rapid evolution of new fanged frog species on the island of Sulawesi, near the Philippines.
The team found 13 species of fanged frog on the island, nine of which hadn't previously been described. The species differ in body size, amount of webbing in their feet, and even how they raise their young -- all in accordance with the demands of their distinct ecological niches. Sulawesi has the same number of fanged frog species as the Philippine archipelago.
"We would expect to find more species on the archipelago because it's so much larger, but that's not the case," Evans said.
Why such diversity on the smaller island? There's less competition on Sulawesi, the researchers say. Fanged frogs in the Philippines have to compete with another genus of frogs, Platymantis. Platymantis never made to hop over to Sulawesi, leaving the fanged frogs free to spread out into new habitat niches, to which they eventually adapted. The rapid evolution of these frogs is a striking example of adaptive radiation -- a concept Charles Darwin famously recorded in Galapagos finches.
The research appears in the American Naturalist.
Wow, cool article Teresa dear. I had a Desktop picture of one Species of Frogs who were Island Hopping and changes their Designs to Impress the girls. Real Teeny weeny poisonous beautiful frogs. But when my computer broke I lost it. I've never been able to find it again in my National Geo Mag. Anyway, Fangs ?? Yikes!! LOL.
Great article, Teresa. A lot of wonderful information. I never heard of a frog with fangs!
Hi, Vinnie dear. I told you I'd make my way in here one of these days!! Sorry you lost your picture of the frog. Maybe one day you'll find it again.
Here's a picture of a purple frog. Kinda odd looking, isn't it?
Very interesting article Teresa. Fanged frogs, huh? Kinda scary. Lynn, that frog is downright creepy! It looks like Jabba the Hutt. I bet it's a really nice frog tho. Too bad about losing your pic Vinnie. You'll find another one some day. Enjoy the weekend !!
Oh, Tj, they're adorable!
How does one not love Mother Nature and all her beauties