The Iberian frog (Rana iberica), like most of its hopping ilk, is commonly found above ground, dwelling among the streams of Portugal and Spain. But new research shows the animals can, and do, make a living underground.
The study found that Iberian frogs can breed and live their entire lives in cavelike chambers, the first time this has been seen for a frog in Western Europe. The creatures were observed breeding in underground drainage compartments built beneath Portugal’s Serra da Estrela Natural Park; aboveground the animals are also found in “small ponds, humid meadows and soaked fields,” the authors wrote in a study.
Although frogs and toads are known to inhabit caves during certain parts of their life cycles, or to seek their moderate, consistent temperatures, no frog in the world is known to live solely underground, according to the research…
“Indian Valley Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus), Kalaiya, Nepal. This large striking frog is found in the lowlands of some of SE Asia and the Mideast. Recent studies have ascertained that it’s probably a complex of several species.”
(this specimen is an unusual amelanistic individual, this coloration is not normal)
The European Common Frog (Rana temporaria) is found throughout much of Europe. Adults have a body length of 6 to 9 cm (2.4 to 3.5 in) and vary in colour, with the ability to lighten and darken their skin in order to match their surroundings. They will feed on any invertebrate of a suitable size and, apart from the breeding season, live solitary lives.
This wood frog, the species of frog known to live further north than any other species of frog, can stay frozen all winter until it thaws out in spring. Patrick explains how the frog is physiologically able to freeze and thaw it’s body. Footage from our Rite of Spring episode.