Frog muscles survive big sleep

May 10, 2007
Ms Symonds with a green-striped burrowing frog
Ms Symonds with a green-striped burrowing frog

A rare Australian frog that burrows underground for a summer siesta resurfaces more than nine months later in just as good a shape as before its rest, according to UQ research.

Long hibernations usually waste mammal and amphibian muscles, but the green-striped burrowing frog is an exception.

UQ PhD student and zoology research assistant Beth Symonds has shown this frog's muscles were unaffected during its subterranean break to avoid the summer sun and dehydration.

Miss Symonds found that muscle contraction speed slowed slightly but the frog retained its power, muscle mass and muscle fibres after waking.

“If you immobilized a person for nine months they wouldn't even be able to walk,” Miss Symonds said.

The 29-year-old from Birkdale is now collecting data on three enzymes in the frog's muscle tissue to understand how it preserves energy.

She said it would take more research to explain exactly how the green-striped burrowing frog maintained its muscles after the big sleep.

She also believes that Australia's other burrowing frogs, of which there are more than 13 different species, were probably capable of the same feat.

Source: University of Queensland

Explore further: Declining catch rates in Caribbean green turtle fishery may be result of overfishing

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Video games target Japan's silver generation

Mar 06, 2014

At a nursing home in suburban Tokyo, 88-year-old Saburo Sakamoto darts his fingers energetically to catch characters that appear on a touch screen in front of him.

Frogs' amazing leaps due to springy tendons

Nov 16, 2011

Some species of frogs and many other animals are able to jump far beyond what appear to be their capabilities. The trained contestants in the frog-jumping competition in Calaveras County, Calif., come to mind, ...

Halloween Special: The science behind Frankenstein

Oct 28, 2010

It has all the makings of a great monster story: an attempt to draw lightning from the sky, a scientist passionate to show that electricity held the secret of life, body parts and, of course, reanimation of ...

Recommended for you

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

7 hours ago

Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access ...

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

8 hours ago

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these ...

Adventurous bacteria

9 hours ago

To reproduce or to conquer the world? Surprisingly, bacteria also face this problem. Theoretical biophysicists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have now shown how these organisms should ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Revealing camouflaged bacteria

A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells. The so cal ...

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access ...