Darwin's frogs have a highly unusual method of brooding and rearing their young. The males have an enlarged vocal sac in which they brood their newly hatched tadpoles. The tadpoles remain there until they have developed into little froglets, when up to 20 are released by being spat out. Darwin's frogs are also masters of disguise. When threatened, they roll over and play dead until the danger has passed, looking like dead leaves. They were discovered, as you may expect, by Charles Darwin in the forests of South America.
Scientific name: Rhinoderma darwinii
Darwin's frog dads show real devotion in looking after the kids.
This can't be real… or can it? This is one of those examples where nature is most definitely stranger than fiction. Not only is it the male Darwin's frog that nurtures the tadpoles inside his own body, but because the brooding pouch is in his throat, he literally has to vomit out fully-formed froglets.
Young Darwin's frogs emerge from their fathers' mouths.
The story of this clip goes to the cameraman, desperate for the loo, left his post after a lengthy vigil and returned to find the baby sitting beside its father. But eventually, patience was rewarded and the moment of emergence in this extraordinary reproductive behaviour was recorded.
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The Darwin's frog can be found in a number of locations including: South America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Darwin's frog distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Population trend: Decreasing
Year assessed: 2004
Classified by: IUCN 3.1
Darwin's frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) is a rhinodermatid frog native to the forest streams of Chile and Argentina. It was first described by French Zoologist André Marie Constant Duméril and his assistant Gabriel Bibron, and is named after Charles Darwin who discovered it in Chile during his world voyage on the HMS Beagle.
The most striking feature is the way the tadpoles are raised—inside the vocal sac of the male.
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