Image: Vampire Flying Frog metamorph

Vampire Flying Frog metamorph

 Vampire Flying Frog metamorph with eggs visible in belly

Jodi J L Rowley
© Australian Museum


The strangest tadpole: the oophagous, tree-hole dwelling tadpole of Rhacophorus vampyrus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Vietnam

The tadpole of the vampire flying frog Rhacophorus vampyrus from Vietnam is one of the strangest tadpoles known. These tadpoles develop from non-pigmented eggs suspended in a foam nest placed on the wall of a tree hole. The elongate, depressed body resembles that of some phytotelmon-breeding frogs, but the mouthparts bear little resemblance to any other tadpole: upper labium reduced to one large papilla-like structure on each side, upper jaw sheath with a few huge, widely spaced, hook-shaped serrations that face backwards into the buccal cavity, lower jaw sheath absent, sinistral spiracle visible only ventrally, and two large, forward facing, keratinized hooks accompanied laterally by two similar sized fleshy papillae on the margin of the reduced lower labium. All evidence suggests that the tadpoles are oophagous and that the mother returns to deposit trophic eggs.

Read more here (Journal of Natural History)


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