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Whilstling Tree Frog - Litoria verreauxii | by Evan Pickett
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Whilstling Tree Frog - Litoria verreauxii

As an ectothermic (or cold blooded) animal, frogs must adapt special mechanisms to deal with cold. Most Australian species go into torpor during the colder seasons, deciding to sleep out the winter. However, the Whistling Tree Frog (Litoria verreauxii) does the exact opposite.

 

Litoria verreauxii is a winter breeder. By ignoring convention within the frog world, this species does not have to compete with other frogs. They have free reign of the pond, and therefore do not have to call over the top of hundreds of other frogs and their tadpoles have more food.

 

But how can a cold blooded animal live, let alone breed, in the cold? The major problem with allowing the body to get cold is that proteins and enzymes are less effective. Therefore, the metabolic processes which occur in the cell slow down. One mechanism used by frogs to counteract this is to increase the concentration of protein within the cell. So although they work at a lower efficacy, the sheer number of proteins means the same job gets done.

 

This Whistling Tree Frog was calling in a large chorus surrounding a dam. During summer, this pond can have well over 10 species calling at once. Tonight, there were two.

 

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Taken on May 26, 2009