Frog with 'Wolverine'-like spikes discovered by Japanese researchers
Otton frog uses spikes which protrude from false thumb for combat -- and mating
Discovering new and unusual species on the planet Earth is a common occurrence, Now, Japanese researchers have discovered a new species of frogs that uses "Wolverine"-like spikes for both fighting - and mating.
Called the Otton frog, or Babina subaspera, these new species calls the Amami islands of Southern Japan its home. Both males and females of the species have the spike.
The study, conducted by Dr Noriko Iwai from the University of Tokyo found that unlike most other frogs, the Otton has an extra digit-like structure. It's a trait that the frog shares with the five-fingered Hypsiboas rosenbergi frogs of Latin America.
"Why these fifth fingers exist in some species remains an evolutionary mystery, but the extra digit of the Otton is in fact a pseudo-thumb," Iwai said.
"The digit encases a sharp spine which can project out of the skin, which fieldwork demonstrates is used for combat and mating," she said.
Studying the rare frogs since 2004, researchers wished to understand the species' distribution, breeding habits and range. These factors would be used in any conservation strategy.
Once Iwai began exploring how the Otton's use their pseudo-thumbs, she discovered that while both males and females had the spike, it was only used by males, who were found to have larger pseudo-thumbs than the females. Iwai believes that the spikes evolved for anchoring to the female, known as amplexus, the Latin for embrace, during mating.
"While the pseudo-thumb may have evolved for mating, it is clear that they're now used for combat," Iwai said.
"The males demonstrated a jabbing response with the thumb when they were picked up, and the many scars on the male spines provided evidence of fighting," she said.
Spikes which shoot from fingers are a key weapon for Wolverine, the comic book superhero. Perhaps unfortunately, the image projected by the star of screen and comic books is slightly dented by the frogs' fighting style.
Rather than dueling with thumb spikes the males wrestle each other in an embrace, jabbing at each other with the spines.
This fighting style helps confirm the theory that the spines were original used for embracing mates.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Otton frog, Japan, Wolverine, species, mating, fighting
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Green News
- Lovely but deadly - beautiful bubbles in Canadian lake are flammable methane gas
- Oldest water in the world discovered beneath the earth's surface
- There's the problem! Americans are out of touch with scientific consensus on climate change
- Rare event, two Alaskan volcanoes simultaneously erupt
- Why are scientists in Cancun worried about melting snow on Mt. Everest?
- Atmospheric carbon dioxide hits 400 ppm, so why should we care?
- Sea level rise already forcing changes in Caribbean, other island nations
- Giant African snails invade Houston suburb, public warned
- First law of the black widow kingdom - Don't get old
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?