Ever wonder how frogs that are born at the top of a rainforest canopy come down to earth? This video explains it all. They can parachute! The video comes from St. Mary’s College of Maryland of St. Mary’s City, Maryland. Rachel Clement studied “the parachuting behavior of Dendrobates pumilio, the strawberry poison dart frog,” a year ago in Panama’s Bocas del Toro province. According to Rachel’s research paper, which she shared with me:
“D. pumilio has never been documented parachuting until this study. Dendrobates pumilio is mainly terrestrial, but female frogs must ascend and descend trees multiple times daily to deposit and care for their tadpoles in canopy bromeliads.”
This frog, as it turns out, has its babies in the treetops, and then the little guys and gals have to get down to earth to live the rest of their lives. It’s just that mom has to go up and down to care for them until their big leap.
“…when a metamorphosed froglet emerged from its bromeliad, it would hypothetically be able to parachute to the ground rather than making the arduous, energy-intensive crawl down a tree backwards as the first use of its new limbs. Since this study suggests that females may prove to be better parachuters than males upon further investigation, it is possible that parachuting is a ‘hardwired’ behavior practiced most often by females, who have reason to enter the canopy multiple times daily. It is possible that some males, in this case, would only parachute on their descent from the canopy as a froglet, and very seldom in later life.”