Mar 26 2020

African escorty: the surly frogs in the world

Among the amphibians there are very unfriendly individuals.

Walking in the African forest or the desert, you can hear from the bottom of the indignant squeak, and looking closely, to see covered in earth and sand, a little frog with a grimace of discontent. Meet African uskoro, and part comes from his hatred and contempt for everything around him, he will give odds to any. African uthority (Breviceps) is a genus of tailless amphibians of the family Brevicipitidae, which live in arid and semi-arid areas of East and southern Africa. And they are solid frog misunderstanding. They have very short legs, they cannot jump, so it’s quite slow moving on the ground on foot.

Coupled with a plump round body, they resemble balls on the legs – and when the danger can swell even more, as if the hatred bursting them from the inside. Escorty still have a short head (for which these amphibians called also korotkovolnovoi – very original), covered with warts back and, you guessed it, a narrow mouth, which angles sharply down.

Unlike most of its fellow amphibians, the African escorty do not live in the ponds and in the ground, where they dig holes for themselves. To do this, they adapted fairly muscular legs. They are under the earth most of his life, the same output of frogs, and lure them to the surface can only rain – escorty smell it coming in advance and dug out of their hiding places. They feed on small insects and worms, active mainly in twilight.

In the video below a family of South African skorotov (Breviceps adspersus) together show how they are able to dig into the ground.

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As escorty completely defenseless against predators (they are non-toxic and slow – where with such short legs run away), they have developed their own way of repelling enemies. Once in danger, escorty begin loudly beeping and increase in size, swelling. Method questionable, but really it is.

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Using these sounds escorty announce to everyone around that they are looking for love. By the way, because of the unusual body structure (fat boys with short legs – you remember) and sexual dimorphism (females are several times larger than males), these amphibians will even mate normally can’t. Males can’t get on the female and cover her paws, as do other frogs.

Perhaps this is partly why they are so unhappy. But the way out of the situation escorty found: males simply glued to the back of the female with a sticky secretion, which escorty secrete through the skin and remain stuck to it until the moment until they fertilize the eggs.

Eggs are under the earth all the stages of the metamorphosis from eggs and tadpoles to young frogs. The whole time the female guards the offspring and is in the hole.

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The charismatic representative of the African skorotov, is perhaps a rough uskoro, or the black rain frog (Breviceps fuskus). Somehow on his face the expression of universal contempt becomes the most clear features. And they grayish-brown as the rest escorty, and black. And can sometimes look very sad.

The main threats to this species are loss of habitat resulting from afforestation, the spread of alien vegetation and too frequent fires. Overall, however, its habitat is well protected, so the species is of least concern (like most other representatives of the African skorotov).


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