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Frog Eggs

June 26, 2008

Hourglass tree frogs from Central America lay their eggs in unexpected places.


An amphibian Plan B….I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The phrase "don’t put all your eggs in one basket" may be cliché, but it’s still sound advice. However, when it comes to reproduction, most animals don’t get a choice of where to put their eggs. For instance, scientists once thought that each species of amphibian was locked into laying its eggs either on land or in the water. But as Boston University biologists Justin Touchon and Karen Warkentin recently discovered, hourglass tree frogs from Panama will lay their eggs in water only in open, unshaded ponds. But-

KAREN WARKENTIN (Boston University):
If you put them under a dense forest canopy where their terrestrial eggs are less likely to dry out, then they’re much more likely to lay their eggs terrestrially.

She says this the first vertebrate found to display this type of reproductive flexibility. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.