Frog without lungs discovered in remote part of Indonesia

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April 10, 2008 15:52
1 minute read.

A frog has been found in a remote part of Indonesia that has no lungs and breathes through its skin, a discovery that researchers said Thursday could provide insight into what drives evolution in certain species. The aquatic frog Barbourula kalimantanensis was found in a remote part of Indonesia's Kalimantan province on Borneo island during an expedition in August 2007, said David Bickford, an evolutionary biologist at the National University of Singapore. Bickford was part of the trip and co-authored a paper on the find that appeared in this week's edition of the peer-reviewed journal Current Biology. Bickford says the species is the first frog known to science without lungs and joins a short list of amphibians with this unusual trait, including a few species of salamanders and a wormlike creature known as a caecilian. "These are about the most ancient and bizarre frogs you can get on the planet," Bickford said of the brown amphibian with bulging eyes and a tendency to flatten itself as it glides across the water. Bickford's Indonesian colleague, Djoko Iskandar, first came across the frog 30 years ago and the biology professor from the Bandung Institute of Technology has been searching for it ever since. Five earlier expeditions had proven fruitless. Iskandar said it was exciting to see the frog alive in its natural environment but another thing altogether to realize it was lungless.


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