TROPICAL RAINFORESTS: The Understory
Gastric Brooding Frog [Platypus Frog]Among the casualties of the current human-induced mass extinction event are the two species of Gastric Brooding Frog from the rainforest of Queensland, Australia: the Northern Gastric Brooding Frog (Rheobatrachus vitellinus) and the Gastric Brooding Frog (Rheobatrachus silus). These two recently discovered species [R. silus was discovered in 1972; R. vitellinus 1984] are presumed extinct as R. silus was last seen in the wild in September 1981 and R. vitellinus was last seen in March 1985.
Gastric Brooding Frogs are notable for their reproductive habits. The female swallows her clutch of eggs and the tadpoles hatch in her stomach. The tadpoles secrete chemicals that cause the female to cease feeding and switch off the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach wall. The young are birthed through the mother's mouth once fully developed as froglets. After leaving the mother's mouth, the young frogs are independent. Scientists have been interested in these species' ability to shut down the secretion of digestive acids the implications of which could have an important bearing in the treatment of people who suffer from gastric ulcers.
Barker, J., G.C. Grigg & M.J. Tyler. 1995. A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty & Sons. Chipping Norton, Australia
Australian Nature Conservation Association. 1996. https://www.ea.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/action/frogs/27.html.
Animal Diversity Web at the University of Michigan https://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/rheobatrachus/r._silus$narrative.html
Continued: Rainforest floor