|Lepidobatrachus laevis in shallow water|
Lepidobatrachus laevis, widely known as Budgett's frog, is a species of frog in the family Ceratophryidae, discovered by John Samuel Budgett. It is often kept as a pet. It has acquired a number of popular nicknames, including Hippo frog, Freddy Krueger frog, Escuerzo de agua, and Wednesday frog.
This frog has become popular in pet stores due to its comical flat appearance and intelligent behavior. Females reach a size of 100 millimetres (3.9 in) while males sometimes only grow half as large. They have a large head that makes up to 1/3 of the body, with notably an extremely large mouth. Their mouth contains a top row of teeth and two "fangs" on the lower jaw. They have extremely short and stubby limbs and the forelimbs are unwebbed. L. laevis is dark olive green with darker blotches outlined in orange. The males have a dark blue throat.
Diet and behavior
The wide-mouth frog is well adapted to its environment, notably the harsh winter. During this time it will remain inactive underground in a cocoon of shed dead skin which protects it from losing water until they emerge. This species is generally very aggressive and will puff up when threatened to appear larger. If this behavior does not deter the intruder they will make a shrill screech, bite, and corner the target. They are nocturnal and hunt at night, submerged up to their nostrils waiting for prey to pass by. They then lunge and swallow the prey whole. They feed on other frogs, insects, and snails.
L. laevis is noted for their fascinating reproductive biology, such as how a single mating produces up to 1400 eggs. A pair will reproduce and deposit a mass of fertilized eggs in temporary pools of water. The embryo develops at a rapid rate over two weeks, in order to metamorphize into mobile adolescent form before the breeding pool dries up. The tadpoles are carnivores and cannibalistic at the time of hatching and have nearly adult jaws. They sexually mature in about a year.
Distribution and conservation
It is commonly observed in Paraguay and Bolivia, and less frequently in Argentina. Its natural habitats are the dry and wet Chaco. Breeding may take place in shallow temporary pools and artificial ponds. It is in some areas threatened by habitat loss but there is a large total population size. The species is listed as Least Concern in view of its relatively wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining rapidly enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
These frogs are often kept by keepers with mild experience with frogs or advanced owners. A ten to twenty gallon tank is generally recommended, without aquarium gravel because it causes digestive issues. River stones are a better alternative. Rocks should be sloped to allow the frog to exit the water. They do not require special in houses with a comfortable temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit. This species of frog needs to be kept alone or with members of the same species and of equal size, as they will consume anything smaller than themselves.
In popular culture
In 2016, images of a Budgett's frog with the accompanying text "It is Wednesday, my dudes", along with variations on the theme, have been widely shared online, and have since become an internet meme. Variations of the image are commonly posted on the subreddit /r/me_irl, where it has become a tradition to post images of the frog every Wednesday.
- Aquino, L.; De la Riva, I. & Céspedez, V. (2004). "Lepidobatrachus laevis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
- Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Lepidobatrachus laevis Budgett, 1899". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
- Rearick, Monica. "Budgett's Frog". Animal-World. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- Infante, Carlos R. (22 June 2009). Whittaker, Kellie, ed. "Lepidobatrachus laevis". AmphibiaWeb. University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- Klee, Miles (8 June 2016). "In this crazy world, one thing's for sure: It is Wednesday, my dudes". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
- Vellard, J. (1948). Batracios del chaco argentino. Acta Zoologica Lilloana, 5, 137-174.
- Faivovich, J. (1994). La distribución del género Lepidobatrachus (Budgett, 1899) (Leptodactylidae: Ceratophryinae). Acta Zoologica Lilloana, 43(1), 137-174.
- Rosen, Michael. "Move over Pepe and Dat Boi—there's a new meme frog taking the internet by storm". Splinter. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
- Hathaway, Jay (11 December 2017). "What is a meme in 2018?". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
- "It Is Wednesday My Dudes". Know Your Meme. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lepidobatrachus laevis.|
- Care information for keeping Lepidobatrachus laevis in the home aquarium at the Aquarium Wiki