Five-legged frogs baffle British

April 4, 2007

Scientists in England are trying to determine why some frogs in a river in Peterborough have five legs, the first known occurrence in Britain.

The discovery was made by naturalist Sharon Harris, who said she also spotted one frog with only three legs, the Peterborough Evening Telegraph reported.

"I was amazed to see them swimming about," Harris said. "They are fully grown, but they've got extra limbs growing out their legs."

She contacted the Natural England environmental agency, and amphibian expert Jim Foster inspected the frogs. He said similar cases had been reported in the United States.

"It's hard to say why it's happened, but scientists in the U.S. say this type of limb deformity is caused by a parasite, which invades the frogspawn and disrupts normal growth patterns," Foster said.

Environment Agency spokesman Mansai Tang had another theory about the three-legged hoppers.

"One of the reasons for the smaller, or missing limbs, could be as a result of the warm temperatures we had this winter, leading to tadpoles hatching early," she said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Dogonauts and Persian cats: Why send animals into space?

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Arctic wintertime sea ice extent is among lowest on record

March 23, 2018

Sea ice in the Arctic grew to its annual maximum extent last week, and joined 2015, 2016 and 2017 as the four lowest maximum extents on record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center ...

Genome of American cockroach sequenced for the first time

March 23, 2018

A team of researchers with South China Normal University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has for the first time sequenced the genome of the American cockroach. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.