Species Description: Iskandar DT, Evans BJ, McGuire JA 2014 A novel reproductive mode in frogs: a new species of fanged frog with internal fertilization and birth of tadpoles. PLoS One DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0115884.
© 2015 Jimmy McGuire (1 of 4)
Besides being the only species of frog in the entire world known to give birth to live tadpoles, it differs from other Sulawesi Limnonectes species in many ways: L. microtympanum and L. arathoonii occur in the Southwestern Peninsula of Sulawesi Island away from the range of L. larvaepartus; L. microtympanum is much larger than L. larvaepartus with relatively smaller tympana; L. arathoonii has less webbing, melanic spots above the forelimbs, a ridge coming from running down the back each eye, and no grainy tubercles on the back; L. modestus has a darkish throat with more solid dark coloration running down to the chest region than L. larvaepartus, and more extensive grainy tubercles (Iskandar et al. 2014).
Live specimens tend to have a brown-grey back, with a light yellow vent region. The tympana are typically black. There is a light stripe in the area between the eyes, and this region down to the snout is lighter in color than the rest of the back. The upper half of the iris is gold-orange in at least some of the individuals. The throat of males is darker and may also have a noticeably dark, spotted, crescent shape. The upper tibia usually has a dark spot (Iskandar et al. 2014).
Most of the variation comes from coloration. Though most individuals have a brown-grey back, others may have a red-brown or gold-tan back. The sides of the back are sometimes darker than the rest of the back (Iskandar et al. 2014).
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Fertilization is internal, though it is unknown exactly how they reproduce. They are ovoviviparous, and give birth to live tadpoles. Tadpoles inside the oviduct feed on their own yolk reserves, which lasts them until birth, at which point they must find an external food source. It is possible that tadpoles also feed on feces and dead tadpoles within the oviduct (Iskandar et al. 2014, Kusrini et al. 2015).
Adult males tend to call in small bodies of water away from streams. Many of these bodies of water have tadpoles in them. The amount of time males spend in proximity to these tadpoles is possible evidence of parental care. In some instances, adults have been found in bodies of water with different sizes of tadpoles, which suggest that both males and females are territorial and may visit the same body of water multiple times to reproduce (Iskandar et al. 2014).
Trends and Threats
Relation to Humans
Limnonectes larvaepartus descended from earlier Limnonectes species that colonized Sulawesi and then radiated throughout the island (Iskandar et al. 2014).
The name larvaepartus is composed of two parts: “larvae” refers to larva, or a juvenile form of an animal, and “partus” means to give birth. This indicates that this species got its name from its unique reproductive mode of giving birth to live tadpoles (Iskandar et al. 2014).
As of March 2015 this is this only species of frog known, other than frogs in the genera Nectophrynoides and Nimbaphrynoides, and the possibly extinct Eleutherodactylus jasperi, to give birth to live young, though all these other species give birth to froglets instead of tadpoles (Iskandar et al. 2014).
This species was featured February 2015 in PLoSable, a science website for teens run by the Public Library of Science (PLOS).
Iskandar, D.T., Evans, B.J., Mcguire, J.A. (2014). ''A Novel Reproductive Mode in Frogs: A New Species of Fanged Frog with Internal Fertilization and Birth of Tadpoles.'' PLoS ONE, 9(12), e115884.
Kusrini, M.D., Rowley, J.J.L., Khairunnisa, L.R., Shea, G.M., Altig, R. (2015). ''The Reproductive Biology and Larvae of the First Tadpole-Bearing Frog, Limnonectes larvaepartus.'' PLoS ONE, 10(1), e116154.
Written by Gordon Lau (gordonhlau AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2015-05-18
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2015 Limnonectes larvaepartus <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/8292> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Mar 25, 2017.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 25 Mar 2017.
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