KnowledgeEnterprise - Department of Biological Sciences


KnowledgeEnterprise - Department of Biological Sciences
Knowledge Enterprise
Nov/Dec 2014
Business programmes
among world’s top
Common plants
that heal
on media regulation
A male Raorchestes chalazodes
on a bamboo branch
A male Raorchestes
chalazodes on a
bamboo branch
Photos : Seshadri K S
Discovery of unique
bamboo-breeding frog
While observing a rare frog in India,
NUS biologists noticed that it breeds
in live bamboo with narrow openings.
A first in frogs and toads, this mode
of reproduction differs from all
other known modes in the amphibians.
The study, conducted by PhD student
Seshadri K S and Assistant Professor
David Bickford from the NUS
Department of Biological Sciences,
found that the white spotted bush
frog ( Raorchestes chalazodes ) is
currently only one of two species
known to adopt this intriguing
reproductive strategy. The report
was published online in The Linnean
Society of London’s Biological Journal
of the Linnean Society in October 2014.
R. chalazodes, a critically endangered
creature thought to be extinct for
more than 100 years, was rediscovered
recently in the wet evergreen forests
of the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger
Reserve in India’s Western Ghats.
During his field trip to this area,
Seshadri spotted adult males of the
species entering hollow internodes
of the flute bamboo where they call
out to attract mates. Females drawn
by the calls follow suit, and more
than one may mate with the male
to lay up to eight eggs per clutch
inside the bamboo. The father
stays in the bamboo to take care
of the eggs, which develop directly
into froglets.
The investigator determined that
R. chalazodes only breeds in bamboo
with openings at the base of the
internode as plants with openings
at the top would collect rainwater,
possibly flooding the eggs or
drowning the froglets.
Eggs inside bamboo, with some already hatching
directly into froglets
work on evolutionary pathways
behind such amazing behaviours.
Seshadri, the lead author of the paper,
highlighted that amphibians are among
the most threatened creatures on Earth,
but they are also the least understood.
“There are several questions about
evolutionary ecology that could be
answered by studying this fascinating
group of frogs. For example, what
transpires inside the bamboo internodes
is still a mystery.”
As the R. chalazodes only reproduces
in bamboo, the study stressed that the
plant’s unregulated overharvesting for
paper and pulp may destroy the animal’s
habitats. It calls for more research to be
done, particularly in developing frogfriendly harvesting techniques.
Asst Prof Bickford said the discovery
underscores that natural history
observations are fundamental in
understanding evolutionary ecology.
It also provides a basis for future
in pri
nt in
Tan Lay Leng
Loo Po Li, Cassandra Yue
Distribution Coordinator
Siti Nurfatiah
Office of Corporate Relations, National University of Singapore
University Hall, Lee Kong Chian Wing, #05-03, 21 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119077
Tel: (65) 6516 1517 Fax: (65) 6775 6386 Email: [email protected] Website:
ISSN 0219-614X Company Registration Number: 200604346E