Podcast: Play in new window
BOB HIRSHON (host):
Shape-shifting frogs. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
On the western slope of the Andes mountains, a frog with a remarkable superpower eluded discovery until recently. Case Western Reserve University amphibian ecologists Katherine and Tim Krynak first saw the frog on a mossy leaf.
KATHERINE KRYNAK (Case Western Reserve University):
We called it the punk rocker frog because of all of its little spines all over its skin.
It was three years later before they encountered a second one. They transported it in a cup.
And we took the frog out of the cup and we saw that its spines were gone, and I honestly thought that I had picked up the wrong frog. But I put some moss in the cup and the frog’s spines came back, and that was just incredibly shocking to see because vertebrates aren’t known to do that.
The researchers suspect the frog’s shape-shifting abilities may serve as a form of camouflage. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.