Burrowing in frogs

  title={Burrowing in frogs},
  author={Sharon B. Emerson},
  journal={Journal of Morphology},
  • S. Emerson
  • Published 1 August 1976
  • Biology
  • Journal of Morphology
More than 95% of burrowing Anura dig hindfeet first into the soil, a pattern unique to frogs among terrestrial vertebrates. The postero‐laterally placed hindlimbs and associated musculature of frogs are preadaptations for hindfeet digging. One fossorial, backwards burrower, Glyphoglossus molossus (Microhylidae), has morphological modifications of the hindlimb for positioning the spade‐like metatarsal tubercle and for increasing the force of the lower leg during digging. 

Observations of Arboreality in a Burrowing Frog, the Banded Bullfrog, Kaloula pulchra (Amphibia: Anura: Microhylidae)

This report reports the first record of banded bullfrogs predating invertebrates in an arboreal setting in the Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve, Thailand and suggests a cause of death for this species.

Dryness affects burrowing depth in a semi-fossorial amphibian

The musculoskeletal system and natural history of Barygenys maculata (Anura, Microhylidae) a burrowing frog of New Guinea

The complete skeleton and muscular systems of the burrowing microhylid frog, Barygenys maculata, are described and their burrowing methods are compared to that of the morphologically similar burrowing African frog, Hemisus marmoratus.

A New Snout-Burrower from the Barotse Floodplain (Anura: Hemisotidae: Hemisus)

The advertisement call of this species differs in pulse structure from all other known species of Hemisus, which can be separated from these by differences in body proportions.

Burrowing behavior of Dermatonotus muelleri (Anura, Microhylidae) with reference to the origin of the burrowing behavior of Anura

Phylogenetic analysis based on literature survey of burrowing behavior suggested that head-firstburrowing behavior has evolved several times in anuran history, forming a convergence complex, and that hindlimbs-first burrowing is a basal behavior.

The ecological significance of burrowing behaviour in the toad (Bufo viridis)

It is concluded that this temperature-sensitive burrowing behaviour of the toad Bufo viridis is an important factor in these animals' successful survival in semi-arid conditions.

Concentrated evolutionary novelties in the foot musculature of Odontophrynidae (Anura: Neobatrachia), with comments on adaptations for burrowing.

Novel character-states supporting the monophyly of Odontophrynus, Proceratophrys, and Odontrophrynus + Macrogenioglottus are found and some modifications of the foot musculature might be involved in digging.

Comparative morphology of the humerus in forward-burrowing frogs

It is shown that the humeri of most forward-burrowing frogs are morphologically distinct from those of non-forward-burrowers, including features such as a curved and thick diaphysis, the presence of a pronounced ventral crest, and relatively large epicondyles and humeral head.

Evolution of the unique anuran pelvic and hindlimb skeleton in relation to microhabitat, locomotor mode, and jump performance.

The findings uncover previously undocumented morphological variation related to anuran ecological and locomotor diversification and link that variation to differences in jumping ability among species.

Comparative Morphometrics in Ranid Frogs (Subgenus Nenirana): Are Apomorphic Elongation and a Blunt Snout Responses to Small-bore Burrow Dwelling in Crawfish Frogs (Lithobates areolatus)?

It is suggested that if Crawfish Frog morphology is a response to life in burrows, it is due in part to having the size characteristic of being the largest member of the clade and in part through the shape characteristic of generally exhibiting an intermediate morphology between Pickerel frogs and the two Gopher Frog species.



Physiological Correlates of Forced Activity and Burrowing in the Spadefoot Toad, Scaphiopus hammondii

Rates of oxygen consumption of Scaphiopus hammondii were measured during rest, forced activity, and recovery from activity. Similar measurements were taken from Bufo cognatus, Rana pipiens, and R.

The mechanics of amphibian locomotion.

An analysis of the mechanics of normal amphibian walking is carried out and several features of Gray9s (1944) analysis ofThe mechanics of the tetrapod skeleton are confirmed.

Ecological Interactions of Frog Larvae at a Seasonal Tropical Location in Thailand

  • W. Heyer
  • Environmental Science, Biology
  • 1973
To determine the adaptive strategies frogs utilize to exploit tropical seasonal environments, a 10 month study of tadpole ecological interactions was undertaken at the Sakaerat Experiment Station,


An analysis of functional correlation or habit pattern from the Recent to the Triassic (or Carboniferous) and the establishment of a step-by-step sequence may force a rethinking of the meaning of the "functional" steps ordinarily alluded to en passant.

Anuran Locomotion: Structure and Function. I. Preliminary Observations on Relation between Jumping and Osteometrics of Appendicular and Postaxial Skeleton

  • G. Zug
  • Environmental Science
  • 1972
By associating jumping abilities with proportions, several morphological and functional trends are disclosed and Notably, strong jumpers share a rectangular presacral platform, short forelimbs, large forefeet, short scapulae, long hindlimps, and tibiofibula longer than femur.

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Analysis of Vertebrate Structure

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Biomechanics: An Approach to Vertebrate Biology

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The relation between velocity of shortening and the tension‐length curve of skeletal muscle

The experiments described in this paper were carried out in order to examine the relation between force and velocity in other regions of the tension-length curve.