In an engaging blend of biology and history, frog scientist Crump tells the story of how we have come to know what we do about one of the world’s most unusual frogs.
The frog was first discovered by Charles Darwin in Chile in 1834 and later named for him. In 1848, a French zoologist found that one of Darwin’s specimens was packed full of tadpoles. Scientists were baffled by this surprise. Was the frog a cannibal or a rare species that gave birth to live young instead of laying eggs? Crump explains how scientists eventually discovered that males of the species hold tadpoles safe in their vocal sacs until the polliwogs metamorphose into froglets. The latest mystery scientists are trying to unravel about Darwin’s frog is the cause of a lethal fungus that may drive the species to extinction. The author also shares her firsthand experiences studying Darwin’s frog in their natural habitat. The eye-catching volume is illustrated with color photographs, detailed artistic renderings of the frog by Jenkins, and ink-and-watercolor portraits of the various human personalities involved by Rodriguez, making its creation as collaborative as science itself.
An attractively designed and informative introduction to a fascinating amphibian full of strange surprises. (glossary, bibliography, websites, index) (Nonfiction. 7-11)