The Túngara Frog (Engystomops pustulosus; formerly known as Physalaemus pustulosus) is a species of frog in the Leiuperidae family. Its local Spanish name is sapito de pustulas ("pustulated toadlet"). It is found in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and possibly Guyana. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, pastureland, heavily degraded former forest, ponds, and canals and ditches.
When mating, the male frog centers himself atop the female to do rhythmic mixing of a foam-producing solvent released by the female to generate a floating foam nest. The foam nests are resistant bio-foams that protect the fertilized eggs from dehydration, sunlight, temperature, and potential pathogens until the tadpoles hatch. The nest degrades when the tadpoles leave after about four days, otherwise the nest can last for up to two weeks.
A protein present in the foam has been used by Carlos Montemagno, David Wendell, and Jacob Todd to create an artificial photosynthetic foam. Unlike chemical detergents the protein does not disrupt cell membranes allowing photosynthetic proteins to be positioned in the foam. This new method for producing biofuel won a 2011 Earth Award.
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- Dalgetty L. and M. W. Kennedy. (2010). Building a home from foam - túngara frog foam nest architecture and three-phase construction process. Biol. Lett. 6(3) 293-296.
- Wendell, D.; Todd, J.; Montemagno, C. (2010). "Artificial photosynthesis in ranaspumin-2 based foam". Nano letters 10 (9): 3231–3236. Bibcode:2010NanoL..10.3231W. doi:10.1021/nl100550k. PMID 20205454. Free version
- Santos-Barrera, G., et al. 2010. Engystomops pustulosus. 2012 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 25 May 2013.
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