A new study describes the first discovery of the tadpoles which eventually turn into adult Indian dancing frogs; while the latter has been documented for the past 125 years, their tadpoles had not been found until now, largely due to the fact that they spend their infancy burrowed underground.
Indian dancing frogs have been studied for more than a century, but for the first time, scientists have found their tadpole forms. A new study by an international team documents the discovery of these young creatures in India’s Western Ghats. Their identity has been confirmed through genetic testing.
One of the reasons the tadpoles have remained a mystery for so long is, according to the Washington Post, because they “burrow down into the sand and spend infancy in the dark.” Their eel-like bodies appear to be well-designed for this kind of life, including increased muscle mass for digging, ribs to protect vital organs, and skin covering late-developing eyes. Their primary nutrition seems to come from organic matter which they ingest along with small bits of sand.
Only in the later stages of development, when they look more like frogs, do they emerge from their underground habitat. The team’s hope is that this research informs future studies about the Indian dancing frog and related conservation efforts. via-GeoBeats News