Table of contents:
Video: My Friends Are Amphibians
I think I have treated frogs well from the day I was born. In any case, already in the first or second grade I fought with classmates superior to me and took away from them the frogs that they caught in order to mock them. But amphibians began to live in my house when I was considered an adult for more than ten years.
Dress for lunch
"Amphibios" translated from Greek means "leading a double lifestyle." However, before talking about the way of life, I think it is not out of place to recall that frogs, and toads, and toads, and newts, and many of their other tailed, tailless, and legless counterparts are considered amphibians. Almost all of them change their place of residence from year to year: they come into the water, then they leave on land. And that is why animals leading such a dual lifestyle are so unusual.
Red-bellied toad (Bombina bombina)
If the frog caught a cold and fell ill, and, as is customary in humans, was forced to go to the X-ray room, it would be possible to examine the picture taken for a long time, but even a hint of a chest could not be found. And where does it come from if frogs have no ribs? And if there are no ribs, then there is no diaphragm and no muscles that pull the ribs up and forward. How, then, does the frog breathe? With a pressure pump. And this pump serves her mouth. The more voluminous it is, the more air can fit into it. This is why the frog's flattened head is so wide.
However, some amphibians, like us and most of those living on land, use a suction pump. However, the essence of the matter does not change. No matter how air enters the lungs of amphibians, this organ is far from perfect, and the clawed newt, the large family of salamanders, has no lungs at all. That is why in amphibians any organ that comes into contact with the external environment extracts oxygen from it and gives it carbon dioxide. In lungless and true salamanders, even the esophagus contributes to the common cause.
The uncovered, always moist skin of amphibians is an eternal reason to dislike them. However, skin can breathe only when it is wet. And amphibians acquired glands that produce mucus. But as soon as the amphibians acquired them, they fell into a vicious circle. Their moist skin is like an exposed surface of water. Water evaporates from the frog's body and, moreover, carries away heat. Always wet amphibians lose heat hundreds of times more than they generate. That is why they are colder than air.
The skin, which complicates the life of amphibians, nevertheless perfectly fulfills its main purpose: to be clothing, to protect the body from the rough outside world. However, no matter how much amphibians cherish their dresses, they eventually become old and wear out. The Russian fairy tale "The Frog Princess", in which the frog throws off the casing, is not fiction, and if fiction, it is very true. Not fabulous, common frogs change their clothes at least four times a year.
The red-bellied toad also changes her dress. She dresses in the water. Everything happens very quickly. I was just lucky if I hadn't entered the room, had I been near this toad a little later, I would not have seen how she took off her old dress.
It is impossible to guess what will follow next. Full impression: in the eyes of a toad of a priest and a speck. She seems to wipe her eyes with her front paws: left, then right. And suddenly he leaves this occupation, begins to wriggle, and scratches his sides with his hind legs. A moment - and everything becomes clear. A cloud appears around the toad. This is her old dress. It floats in water. But here the toad grabs with its front legs a thin dress, which is still attached to its hind legs, tugs at it, and all of it instantly disappears in the mouth.
Toads, toads, frogs do not act like the frog princess, carelessly leaving her casing: they eat their own outfit.
Marsh frog (Pelophylax ridibundus)
The tongue is the lasso and the eyes are the tongue
A frog is sitting in a shiny new dress. The sun is about to hide. It wouldn't hurt to have dinner. And the frog goes hunting.
And here is the prey right under the nose. The frog does not hesitate to throw a lasso forward: its own fleshy tongue, it is attached to the frog topsy-turvy: not in the depths of the mouth, but not far from the chin. At its tip, in the middle, there is a deep recess, while it itself is covered with a cell of mucus. The tongue pops out of the mouth with lightning speed, and it can overtake prey sitting five centimeters from the frog.
The tongue is a lasso for tree frogs. And European cave salamanders shoot their tongues like chameleons. Their tongue is long, stalked, with a cracker at the end. An Italian salamander, approaching its prey, throws out its tongue in just one hundredth of a second. In the aga toad, it leaves its mouth in three hundredths of a second, in the American toad, almost twice as fast.
However, the language does not help all amphibians to hunt. The African clawed frogs, the Carvalho pipa of South America, and the Surinamese pipa, which is found there and in the Caribbean, have no language. Do not count on the tongue of toads. They have it thick, like a disk, for which these amphibians are called round-tongued. And pond frogs, when they come across a large beetle, will slap on it a couple of times with their tongue and grab it with their jaws, and they will push it into their mouth with their front paws.