3 … headed … frog

click here for a gruesome picture I don’t want to keep on my front page for an extended period

BBC reports on the discovery of this frog(s) near Bristol. Frogs are famous environmental indicators, an extra leg or missing eyeball are not unusual. It must be due to their malleable development process. Amphibian flesh is just flexible.

Like the Surinam Toad, pipa pipa .. the fertilized eggs of this toad are deposited on the mother’s back, settle into the spongey skin, grow embedded in her back, until they hatch, popping out like toad popcorn. Oh, this toad also has no tongue. Honolulu Zoo has helpfully provided some pictures.

This must be three individuals fused together .. doesn’t seem like any amount of environmentally induced mutation is going to get a single frog to grow an extra head. But is it one cloned individual, or three siblings? Did they fuse immediately after conception, or later? Well, at least the heads all ended up in the same direction. Science must find out.