Fully formed froglets emerge from dry bamboo nurseries

Rare amphibian mates in bamboo stalks; eggs forgo tadpole stage

Male white-spotted bush frog

COME HITHER  Male white-spotted bush frogs make a home inside a bamboo stalk and then attract females to mate there.

K.S. Seshadri

In a remote, wet evergreen forest in southern India, the male white-spotted bush frog calls to lure a female into his snug bamboo-stalk love nest. Entry is granted through a narrow opening probably bored by insects or rodents. Once inside, the tiny frogs mate in flood-proof confines. Dad cares for the eggs, which hatch directly into froglets — no tadpole stage involved in this dry bamboo nursery.

Researcher Kadaba Shamanna Seshadri of the National University of Singapore and his team observed this unusual bamboo-based breeding among Raorchestes chalazodes, a species of frog so rare that it was deemed extinct until 2011. They report the findings October 24 in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. The researchers warn that unregulated harvest of bamboo by the paper and pulp industry could destroy the bamboo nesting frog’s breeding habitat.

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