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The tad is feeding on something growing or living on the bark, right? You telling me the tad can chew tree bark? Not that frogs chew...but you know what I mean.

Sometimes the "scientific experts" need pointed in the right direction.
 

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The tad is feeding on something growing or living on the bark, right? You telling me the tad can chew tree bark? Not that frogs chew...but you know what I mean.

Sometimes the "scientific experts" need pointed in the right direction.
If it stays humid enough for the tads to live out of water, I would guess there is a good amount of algae/biofilm growing on the trees they're found on. Either way, it's pretty cool that they can survive latched to the side of a tree.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello and thanks for your comment. The tadpoles were observed to actually eat the wood; whether or not they digest it, or pass it after digesting moss, detritus etc., remains to be seen

Wood-feeding is unusual but not unknown; wood digestion even more so. Termites are the best known examples of animals that digest wood (cellulose) via bacterial action. Several catfish species consume wood, but lab tests indicate that it is not digested...but much work remains to be done with them.

Amazingly, beavers seem actually to digest wood, if indirectly. Bacteria in their gut break down cellulose, and are themselves digested by the beavers. However, the beavers I've cared for (Bx Zoo) much preferred carrots and such to wood - one fellow tipped the scales at 50+ pounds, so I assume the diet agreed with him.

Best, Frank
 

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Oh wow, I was just about to say -- those tads must have some really good cellulases to digest that wood! But having bacteria that secrete the enzymes would be equally impressive in my opinion, especially for a frog.

Also, I had no idea that beavers digested (or even ate, really) wood! I thought they just chewed on it but didn't swallow. You learn something new every day :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm really looking forward to learning how they actually manage the wood...I'll be sure to post an update when I hear anything new.

Beavers are quite impressive, aren't they?...I don't most people focus on the dam-building/tree cutting, but they are full of surprises.

Best, Frank
 

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Hello and thanks for your comment. The tadpoles were observed to actually eat the wood...
I'm sorry, but this statement just sounds ridiculous. It is the kind of thing The Discovery Channel says, and then goes, "WELL...while it initially appeared that the frogs were eating the wood..blah blah blah..."

When you say they actually ate the wood, you got any more details on how they "ate" the wood? Rip a ***** off? Just bite into the side of the tree? Go all woodpecker on it? The info just seems vague, and the suggestions we made above, to the naked eye, would appear as if they were eating it.

But, if true, it is amazing...so I cannot wait to hear more about the wood eating frog, and how they are actually obtaining their nutrients.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hello,

Sorry, but the term "ridiculous" is not appropriate in this case.

The observation was reported in a professional, peer-reviewed journal that serves as a forum for just such articles - new behaviors and such that have not yet been analyzed or studied. Such journals, generally not available via the internet without a subscription, are used by researchers to draw attention to subjects that are deserving of further investigation. This is why I stated that the tadpoles were observed to consume wood but further information was not yet available; nothing at all to do with inadequate TV coverage and the like.

Best regards, Frank
 

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Hi Frank,

What a cool find! Where was your study published? I'd love to read it! I forwarded the link to one of the researchers who works on wood-eating catfishes- he was stoked and I'm sure you'll be hearing from him.

Cheers,

Afemoralis
 

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Hi Frank,

What a cool find! Where was your study published? I'd love to read it! I forwarded the link to one of the researchers who works on wood-eating catfishes- he was stoked and I'm sure you'll be hearing from him.

Cheers,

Afemoralis
I believe Frank is just relaying the research, I don't think they have published anything yet if so its not popping up on any of the journals. From one site Ben Tapley is mentioned as one of the researchers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi,

Yes, amazing, isn't it? Wood-eating catfish researchers would be a natural, glad you forwarded it (actually., I've found that many amphibian enthusiasts, myself included, are also interested in catfishes, lungfishes, eels, loaches and other such fish). The observation was reported by a researcher at the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, founded by legendary herpetologist Rhom Whittaker. I had the pleasure of once hunting snakes with Mr. Whittaker, but was not involved in this research; merely passing along the info as it did not draw much attention on the net.

Best, Frank
 

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I'm sure in a rainforest, or cloud-forest setting, the amount of algae, lichen, bacteria, moss or fungi available on the bark would be more than sufficient to sustain the tadpoles. If I'm reading it right though, the tadpoles slither around terrestrially on the bark surface and feed!?!And complete metamorphosis in that state? That's crazy!, or maybe I missed something.

Whatever the case, feeding on bark isn't so crazy as feeding on rocks, like that African or Middle eastern (can't remember which) terrestrial desert snail species that consumes the micro-lichens on the surfaces of rocks, and then passes copious amounts of "sand" as a by-product. I read that years ago, but I think that's pretty accurate. Pretty cool stuff! Thanks, JVK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes, unbelievably, it seems that is what they do! Whether they actually digest wood, or rely upon the foods you mentioned, isn't yet known. I was surprised to learn that beavers actually digest wood - or, rather, bacteria in their guts digests the wood, then the bacteria are digested by the beavers - different that the situation with termites, perhaps even more bizarre....

I've not seen anything yet on their transformation...can't wait though, as this strategy is beyond even the terrestrial nests of Smoky Jungle Frogs.

Great point on the rock eaters...I agree. Limpets also consume rock as I recall; not sure if it serves as a food source or is ingested incidentally. Well, no end to the surprises...

Best, Frank
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I imagine so, but they have not been closely studied yet...at this point, I wouldn't put much past a tadpole! best, Frank
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi Ed,

Sorry for the delay, thanks so much for sending that along; I look forward to reading it, best, Frank
 
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