African clawed frogPublished on June 8, 2018 - Last modified: November 26, 2019
African nail frog (Xenopus laevis) es an amphibian completely water, since he spends most of his life in the river bottoms y lagos. Although today it can be found throughout the entire African continent, it owes its name to its South African origin. However, due to their importance in scientific research it is possible to find them also in America and parts of Europe.
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An adult African clawed frog is a vertebrate animal, so named because their front legs have sharp nail-like fingers used for hunting, while their back legs are webbed so they can swim. It is about 12 cm long and weighs about 200 grams.
Its color is greenish gray, although they can be found in other colors such as albino. They have a mottled pattern on their body and on their sides a line of marks on both sides that act as sensors that help them detect possible prey. How it happens with other frogs, like the striped rocket frog, their eyes and nose are placed on the top of their head to allow them to see and hide their body.
It has been used by the scientific community for all kinds of research because they are amphibian animals, particularly aggressive and ferocious. In 1940 it became the world's first pregnancy test for humans, which has led to what is found throughout the world today. They can live, in freedom, from 5 to 15 years, although in captivity some adult frogs have lived up to 35 years.
The African clawed frog is a diurnal animal, who lives his entire life in the water, although he has to stick his head out of the water to breathe. She is a great swimmer being able to do it in all directions (sideways, backwards, forwards, up and down). It has successfully evolved into a large predator by using its nails to hunt its prey.
African clawed frog inhabit wild state, in eastern and southern Africa along the Rift Valley, at the bottom of shallow, fast-flowing streams and rivers during the summer and moving into flooded forests during the rainy season.
They can also be found in fresh waters outside of Africa due to the humans who have introduced it, becoming an invasive species by lacking natural predators.
The African clawed frog is a carnivorous amphibian, therefore it is a predator. The favorite prey is the water bug and small fish but it also feeds on small invertebrates such as insects, spiders and worms that are hunted taking advantage of its sharp nails, but it is also known to eat its own skin when it is detached from its body .
When they are bred in captivity their diet is reduced to worms.
The African Clawed Frog can remain hidden most of the time, as only its eyes and nose stick out of the water. In this way it goes unnoticed by predators such as rodents, cats, Dogs, birds y reptiles, although its biggest predators is the heron.
The African clawed frog are oviparous animals. Females are almost twice the size of males and are capable of reproducing more than once a year. After mating, the female lays thousands of eggs covered by a sticky substance that holds them together. Once hatched, the tadpoles begin their life in the water, although they can approach the banks of rivers if necessary.
State of conservation
The African Clawed Frog has been classified as Least Concern due to its imminent extinction. Their populations have declined in certain areas due to deterioration of the water and loss of their habitat.
When used in numerous investigations and teachings, they have become pests by being an invasive species without natural predators that have killed local plants and living beings, forcing humans to decrease the population to avoid major catastrophes.
A number of scientific uses have also been found to improve our lives. The most important was the use of the females as a type of pregnancy test. A hormone produced by human babies, which is transmitted through the mother's urine, known as HCG induces ovulation in the female African clawed frog.