You might think of a pond when tadpoles come to mind, but scientists have just discovered a new species that lives underground. In fact, the tadpoles feast on sand, and they’re just fine with their dark, damp environment.
The species belong to the Indian dancing frog family, Micrixalidae. The tadpoles, Micrixalus herrei, come from sand beds in a stream in Western Ghats. They actively borrow underground and live a fossorial life until they reach late metamorphic stages.
“The tadpole gut contains mostly fine sediments and sand,” the authors wrote in their report, published in PLoS One. “We discuss the eel-like morphology and feeding habits of M. herrei in the context of convergence with other well-known fossorial tadpoles. This discovery builds the knowledge base for further comparative analyses and conservation of Micrixalus, an ancient and endemic lineage of Indian frogs.”
However, these wouldn’t be the first strange animals to be discovered by scientists. In fact, many of the world’s unusual creatures live below the surface — and deep within the ocean.
- Blobfish. This fish, which quite literally looks like a blob, lives deep under the sea. It has an arguably grumpy look on its face, and its gooey flesh helps it stay afloat in the water.
- Dumbo Octopus. Out of all of the octopus species known to man, this one lives the deepest in the sea. Its strange fins give it its name, which stems from the Dumbo Disney character.
- Yeti crab. If you didn’t think crabs could be furry, think again! This species, which was discovered in 2005 near Easter Island, gained attention for its fuzzy-like appearance. On top of it all, it doesn’t have any eyes.
- Tarsier. This creature’s eyes are more than half an inch in diameter, which is about the size of its brain. It can be found in Southeast Asia, though its population is dwindling.
- Pinocchio frog. Can you guess how this little guy got its name? The frog has a “Pinocchio-like” appendage on its nose, which makes it look like the Disney character.
- Jumping spider. This spider’s ability to jump is not its only strange characteristic. It also has eight watchful eyes!
- Pea-sized frog. Yes, that’s right — a frog the size of a pea. It was originally discovered in a pitcher plant in Southeast Asia in 2010.
As time rolls on, one would have to assume that we only have more unusual, inspiring creatures left to discover in the world. And so, here’s to the waiting game!
Senevirathne, Gayani. Garg, Sonali. Kerney, Ryan. Meegaskumbura, Madhava. “Unearthing the Fossorial Tadpoles of the Indian Dancing Frog Family Micrixalidae.” PLoS One. Published March 30, 2016.
Shapley, Dan. “18 of the Most Bizarre New Animals.” Popular Mechanics. Published September 17, 2010.
“26 weird and unusual animals around the world.” MSN News. Published June 15, 2015.