What a Body

Frogs & Friends

The amphibian body is the result of millions of years of adaptation to a wide variety of habitats. Discover their specs!

The amphibian body is the result of millions of years of adaptation to a wide variety of habitats. Explore the specific features of their bodies!

Camouflage, defense, protection – an amphibian’s skin is an indispensable multitool

The glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium iaspidiense) is almost completely transparent and hard to make out in front of natural background.

The skin of the common reed frog (Hyperolius viridiflavus) contains particles that reflect sunlight.

The fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) uses its black and yellow colours to warn predators: careful, poisonous!

Frogs have excellent eyesight. Their eyes are their most important sensory organ.

The eyes of the red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) have the power for excellent vision even at nighttime.

Whether on land or underwater – amphibians always need to be able to breathe. To accomplish this, they have a variety of means at their disposal.

During metamorphosis, amphibian larvae shift their breathing apparatus from gills to lungs. That way, they can breathe the oxygen in the air when transitioning onto land.

Nevertheless, the soft amphibian skin is not just permeable to moisture, but also facilitates gas exchange. For many amphibians, this is what allows the oxygen intake to a large extent.

The lungless Mexican climbing salamander (Bolitoglossa mexicana) even breathes exclusively through its skin.

During frog concerts, many species amplify their calls with the use of their vocal sac. For this purpose, the throat sac is being filled with air to inflate.
This not only creates a larger resonance chamber but allows the sound waves to be dispersed more evenly in every direction. Thanks to the vocal sac, tree frogs can reach extremely high volumes.

All amphibians are hunters that eat all types of small creatures. They have developed a variety of hunting means for which the highly specialised tongue plays a decisive role.

The ultra strong and sticky tongue is attached to the lower jaw and rests in a folded-back position in the frog’s mouth. To catch prey it flicks out at high pace and makes the prey stick to the tongue. The prey then is grasped by the jaws and drawn back into the mouth, where it will be swallowed whole as demonstrated by this common toad (Bufo bufo spinosus).

Suction pads, paddles, spades – amphibian feet have adapted to very different tasks, why a huge variety of feet forms exist in frogs.

Flying frogs have especially well-developed webbed toes that can be used as parachutes.

One of the most famous flying frog is Wallace's flying frog, named after its discoverer, the great rival of Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace.

Frogs are known for their long leaps. This is possible because of special adaptations in their powerful hind legs, allowing them to perform astonishing athletic feats.

Frogs have quite extraordinary jumping abilities. There are some species that can cover a distance about fifty times their own length in a single leap. This is because of the specialised musculoskeletal apparatus in their hind legs as well as the redistribution of propulsive forces to the back of the body.

The goliath frog (Conraua goliath) lives in big streams in Cameroon. It isn’t just the largest frog in the world, it also jumps the farthest: up to five metres in a single leap!

Unfortunately, it doesn't help him much. Hunted for its meat, even the Goliath frog is threatened with extinction.

Frogs pursue a great number of very different reproduction strategies, which can be grouped into 39 basic types.

They have developed highly individual strategies that in many cases are unique to a certain species.

The marsupial frog (Gastrotheca ovifera) carries its offspring around in a dorsal skin sac until they fully develop into froglets.

Frogs & Friends
Credits: Story

Exhibition by Frogs & Friends
Exhibition curators: Björn Encke & Annette Kinitz

Illustratory content origin: Interactive trip by Frogs & Friends
Art Direction: Sebastian Baurmann
Illustration and Animation: Jonas Lieberknecht
Text: Lena Thiele, Heiko Werning

Photographs:
Glass frog, Morley Read
Common reed frog, Ryan M. Bolton
Fire salamander, Czesznak Zsolt
Red eyed tree frog, Aleksey Stemmer
Mexican climbing salamander, Kevin Wells
Tree frog showing its throat sac, Suede Chen
Bufo bufo, Bjoern Encke
Flying Wallace’s frog, Stephen Dalton, Minden Pictures
Goliath frog, Fabian von Poser, imageBROKER
Marsupial frog, Michael & Patricia Fogden, Minden Pictures

With the support of the Interactive Media Foundation gGmbh (IMF)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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