Researchers have discovered a tadpole that eats sand, lives in darkness till the time it turns into a young frog. The tadpoles were discovered at the Western Ghats. The discovery has been made by scientists from the University of Delhi, the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and Gettysburg College, California.
- The tadpole belongs to the Indian Dancing Frog family, Micrixalidae.
- They are called dancing frogs because of their nature of waving their legs signalling territorial and sexual display. “We provide the first confirmed report of the tadpoles of Indian Dancing frog family.
- These tadpoles probably remained unnoticed all these years because of their fossorial [underground] nature.
- The purple tadpoles were found in the deep recesses of streambeds.
- With eel-like bodies and skin-covered eyes, they burrow through gravel beds. They don’t have teeth but serrated jaw sheaths, which help them feed and move through sand.
The Micrixalidae tadpoles hang onto the rocks underwater with support of their mouths. According to Madhava Meegaskumbura from the University of Peradeniya, the tadpolese have ribs and whitish globular sacs that store calcium carbonate, known as “lime sacs.”