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This Week's Scuttlebutt




FROGS


What Is Metamorphosis?
Most amphibians grow and change from larva to adult in a process called metamorphosis. In metamorphosis, lysosomes break down the cells in the larva's body; new cells develop and form the adult's body.
.....The larval stage of a frog is called a tadpole. Tadpoles live in water and breathe through gills. Tadpoles have long tails instead of legs. They feed on plants.
.....As tadpoles grow, the gills shrink and are covered by flaps of skin, and the tadpole develops lungs. Once the tadpole has lungs it can breathe air like other land animals do.
.....While growing lungs, the tadpole is also growing legs. The tail is absorbed into the tadpole's body and eventually disappears. During the transition, the tadpole also adopts a carnivorous diet.
.....A tadpole's legs and lungs grow quickly. In a short time, the tadpole has metamorphosed from a water-dwelling herbivore that breathes through gills to a land-dwelling carnivore that breathes through lungs.


Do Frogs Have Ears?
Humans call the outer flap of skin on each side of their heads "ears." The purpose of these flaps of skin is to collect sounds from the air around us. The sounds are funneled to our middle ears, then sent by a special nerve to the brain. Real hearing takes place when the sound waves reach the brain.

But the frog has no visible outer ears. Instead, frogs, like birds and lizards, have tiny holes some distance behind each eye. Sound waves travel through these holes to the frog's middle ears and then to the nerves which carry the sounds to the frog's brain.


How to Make a Jumping Frog from a Wishbone

Here's a simple toy made from a turkey wishbone!

  1. Thoroughly clean the wishbone, then let it air dry for a day or two.

  2. On thin cardboard, trace the outline of a frog. The outline should be slightly smaller than the wishbone. Cut out the frog shape.

  3. Take a 12" length of strong, thin string and fold it in half. Tie the folded string securely to the legs of the wishbone, about an inch from the wishbone's open end.

  4. Notch a thin stick, or dowel, that is a little shorter than the bone, about 1/2" from the end. Have the notch go circle the stick.

  5. Slip the stick through the doubled string, halfway.

  6. Glue the cardboard frog to the top of the wishbone.

  7. Turn the stick around and around until the string is twisted up and shows a strong resistance.

  8. Pull the stick towards the top of the wishbone until the string catches on the notch.

  9. Hold the wishbone frog on a flat surface, then let go. As the twisted string unwinds, the wishbone frog will jump quite a distance.

  10. Experiment to see how far you can get your frog to jump!


Do Some Frogs Live Inside Stones?
Every so often, a frog is discovered imprisoned inside a stone. Does this mean that frogs can live for centuries? Not so! Dean Buckland's experiments proved that frogs die within a year if deprived of both air and food, but they can live for almost two years without food if given plenty of air.

So, how does the frog get inside the stone? While very tiny, a frog might creep through a small crevice in the stone. If there is enough food to eat, the frog will grow bigger—so big that it cannot crawl out of the hole. With a little air and a few insects to eat, the trapped frog may even live a few years inside the stone.


The Frog
- By Hilaire Belloc

Be kind and tender to the Frog,
.....And do not call him names,
As "Slimy-Skin," or "Polly-wog,"
.....Or likewise, "Ugly James,"

Or "Gape-a-grin," or "Toad-gone-wrong,"
.....Or "Billy-Bandy-knees";
The Frog is justly sensitive
.....To epithets like these.

No animal will more repay
.....A treatment kind and fair,
At least, so lonely people say
Who keep a frog (and, by the way,
.....They are extremely rare).

Frog World


What's the Difference Between Reptiles and Amphibians?
Did you know there are only four kinds of amphibians and five kinds of reptiles? Frogs, toads, salamanders and newts are amphibians. Snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises, crocodiles and alligators, and the tuatara are reptiles.

Amphibians and reptiles have three-chambered hearts, breathe air, and are cold-blooded. So, what's the difference between them, you ask? To start with, only amphibians are slimy!

Amphibians generally have moist, scale-less skins. They live part of their lives on water and part on land, and all amphibians must lay their jelly-like eggs in water. Some amphibians, like frogs, metamorphosize as they grow from larva to adulthood.

Reptiles have dry, scaly skins. (The scales help prevent water loss from their bodies.) Fertilization occurs within the reptile's body and most lay leathery-shelled eggs on land. Reptiles do not undergo a metamorphosis.


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Saturday, April 19, 2003 19:20