The paradoxical frog is a South American frog also known as the “shrinking frog” because of the enormous size of its tadpoles compared with the adult frog. The tadpoles can reach more than eight inches in length, while the adult frogs are generally only two inches long.
While an ordinary tadpole transforming into a frog will simply grow legs as its tail shrinks, the tadpoles of the paradoxical frog need to shrink their entire body to grow up.
Several other species of frogs have similarly large larvae, but they all spend winter as tadpoles and need greater size to survive. Tadpoles of paradoxical frogs are not subjected to the same conditions and scientists are unsure exactly why they grow so large.
More about frogs:
- The paradoxical frog produces a skin secretion which could be used to help combat diabetes by stimulating insulin production.
- While all frogs go through a tadpole stage, not all tadpoles live in fresh water. For example, Darwin's frog tadpoles mature while contained inside the vocal sac of their father.
- The largest frog species is the Goliath frog, which can grow to over a foot long and weigh up to seven pounds.