Friday, June 13, 2008

Good Fathers - Frogs

We're only human. When it comes to toting our offspring we have to use our large brain and opposable thumb and create things like a nifty baby backpack.

Or this adorable stroller.

Or even a simple sling.

But it is not so for the Assa Darlingtoni, or, to use his more common name, the Hip Pocket Frog.

Hip Pocket Frogs live in Australia and, as with other animals from Down Under, they tend to do the whole baby thing a little differently. The hip pocket frog does not need water to breed or lay its eggs in. The female actually lays her eggs directly on the ground in a large gelatinous mass, about 3 cm square. Both she and her mate will guard the eggs from predators. A few days later the eggs will hatch. At this time, the male frog will wade into the jelly mass and smear it on his body. The little tadpoles will be able to wriggle along their dad's body until they drop into one of two pouches located on the dad's hips. The male hip pocket can carry about 6 tadpoles in each of his pouches. Here the tadpoles will stay, feeding of their leftover yolk sacs. When they become fully developed frogs, they will leap from their dad's "hip pockets" and go off without a backward glance.

Kids. Gotta love 'em.

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