Saturday, November 19, 2016

Red-Eye Tree Frog Embryos Escape Danger

A trait unique to this species, red-eyed tree frog embryos can hatch in an instant to escape dangerous predators. In an article by Live Science, this frog can be seen hatching as early as four days into development. Typically, undisturbed embryos can hatch after six or seven days. An embryo can identify vibrations from their surroundings, attributing them to rain, predators, or other things in their surroundings. If it was a predator they sensed, they quickly use their unique survival trait to escape. 

While most frog embryos release an enzyme throughout development that weaken the egg membrane over time, the red-eyed tree frog is able to store this enzyme in their snouts. The embryo will quickly release it onto the piece of egg membrane directly in front of them to create a weak spot in the egg from which they can hatch and make their escape. This method allows the embryo to make a quick getaway in as little as 6 seconds. In an article by the New York Times, Dr. Warkentin explained that she did not know of any other frog with such a short speed of hatching.

An extraordinary behavior first identified in 2005, this recent discovery explains the genetics and mechanics behind the process, and is truly amazing to behold. I believe that this trait, totally unique to the red-eyed tree frog, is a trait most organisms in the animal kingdom could greatly benefit from. To be able to have control over your own birth date like that, and to be able to save your own life before it has even started is very gratifying.

1 comment:

  1. I worked at a zoo this summer with Red Eyed Tree Frogs and I had no idea they could do this! This is a great adaptation for their species, and I think other species would benefit from having a similar adaptation to predators.