Mouth brooding frog

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.

Darwin's frog makes its calls in the beech forests of southern Chile. All the frogs calling are males despite the breeding season being over and eggs laid on the forest floor.

But there's still a job to do. When the males see movement within the eggs, they appear to eat them. However, the eggs aren't swallowed . Instead, they're kept in his vocal sac, for Darwin's frog is a mouth-brooding species, meaning the tadpoles develop inside his vocal sacs.

The males can't call with a throat full of wriggling tadpoles and after a few weeks, the male frog 'gives birth' to the froglets from his mouth and is able to sing once again.

Release date: 24 Sep 2009

2 minutes

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