Critically Endangered Nimba Toad's Exceptional Reproductive Biology Explained

Posted: Feb 6 2017, 5:29am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Critically Endangered Nimba Toad's Exceptional Reproductive Biology Explained
This is a large pregnant female Nimba toad in June, shortly before giving birth. Credit: Dr. Laura Sandberger-Loua

Nimba toad is known for its reproductive biology that’s very exceptional among all species. Nimba produce fully developed juveniles keeping the fetuses for nine months in the womb and giving them nutrition to survive. The foetus is fed with small siblings or eggs yolks of unfertile eggs,sothat’s why Nimba toads are different.

Several researches were conducted for 40 years on Nimba, but only a few are accessible and that gap was filed by a new research paper that published in the journal Zoosystematics and Evolution by German scientists Drs. Laura Sandberger-Loua and Mark-Oliver Rödel, both affiliated with museum Fur Naturkunde, Berlin and and Dr. Hendrik Müller,

The research scientists collected data of 4 decades to study Nimba toads biological characteristics. The scientists also studied a correlation between the reproductive biology of the toad and its specific habitat of only 4 km² of high altitude grasslands located at a minimum of 1,200 m in West Africa in the Nimba Mountains.

In Nimba Mountains, the rainy season lasts from April to October and dry season from November to March. During these seasons Nimba toads become active, and amphibians are active in rainy seasons and give birth to young mates and stay underground in dry season.

Nimba females are larger than male Nimba, and males have darker backs in the adult life and have pads on thumbs just like spiky swellings that is linked to

spermatogenesis, is used by the male toads to grasp tightly the female during mating.

Mating in Nimba happens without a copulatory organ, and the sperm is transferred cloacae. Male toads’crouch on their front legs and when female moves the male grab it in the groin and male toad often injures the female partner due to spiky pads.

New toads are born within two days, but it depends on number of offspring that can be 12 on older toads but more in young females.

Such toads live in high altitudes of grasslands that were named Nimba Mountains by World Heritage Site by UNESCO. These toads are also separated from other species and perhaps that’s the reason of exclusive reproductive biology of these Nimba toads.

Scientists believe that the harsh environment and lack of open water created this exclusive reproductive mode in the toads.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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