The “hairy frog”: An amphibian oddity

Possibly the weirdest amphibian in the world, the hairy frog possesses hair-like filaments on its body during certain times of the year.

I just learned about this frog yesterday and could not resist posting a blurb about this bizarre species. Called the “horror frog” by some, the hairy frog (Trichobatrachus robustus) is a species of frog from central Africa that is unlike any other amphibian in the world. During the breeding season, male hairy frogs grow “hairs” – little flaps of vascularized tissue – on their legs and groin region. Scientists think that these strange projections may be used for respiration to augment the weak lungs of this species during times when their metabolism is higher. Another weird quirk about this species is that when they are threatened by predators, they can break their fingers to project out a sharp claw for defense. This is the first time such a defense has been heard of for frogs, although Spanish Ribbed Newts (Pleurodeles waltl) will puncture their ribs through their skin to injure a would-be predator.

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