Education systems are infamously myopic and the oft-worn attention-seeker 'I was born a Genius; Education ruined me' t-shirts certainly do have a grain of truth to them. The reproductive cycle of a frog from egg to tadpole to its final metamorphosis into an adult is only ONE of the reproductive modes of the group. In fact, an amazing 40 reproductive modes have been identified globally (Wells 2007, Gururaja 2012). These include:
1. Gastric brooding frogs of Australia (considered extinct) in which the female would swallow fertilized eggs and vomit out completely formed froglets
2. Tree frogs that build foam nests over streams or ponds whereby the tadpoles can drop into the water and swim their way to adulthood
3. Bush frogs that lay eggs in bamboo cavities and tiny froglets emerge completely bypassing the tadpole stage
4. A viviparous African toad that gives birth to completely developed froglets by providing nutrition through yolk
5. Midwife toads in which the male carries a string of fertilized eggs on his back to protect them from predators
6. Almost 100 fertilized eggs sink into the back of female Surinam toads which later develops a cyst to protect the eggs as they develop into froglets. The froglets exit her body when she sheds the protective skin.
7. Dancing frogs of the Western Ghats in which the female digs a cavity and deposits her eggs in the stream bed
The Indian bullfrog, however, sticks to the textbook in the typical blinder-bound manner of a sniffling schoolboy and undergoes the complete cycle of metamorphosis. During the breeding season, the male frog attaches itself onto the back of a female. The female lays eggs that are covered by a protective gelatinous sheath whereupon the male releases his sperm fertilizing the eggs externally. The eggs later develop into tadpoles. The carnivorous tadpoles dwell close to the bottom of the water-body, stalking prey including other tadpoles. Juvenile frogs are mud-colored with a pattern of dark spots and stripes that easily camouflage them in muddy fields.
Now if only the Indian education system would take a leaf out of the bullfrog's book and metamorphose into a useful beast.
Ramblings on wildlife sharing spaces with non-wild humans