Frogs are very common across the globe. Everybody knows what they look like on the outside. However, the average person does not know what frogs look like on the inside. The average person also does not know if they have a backbone, if they have a skull, if they have muscles, and so on and so forth.
In this post, I will share with you all the important information you need to know about frogs.
So, Are Frogs Vertebrates or Invertebrates?
Frogs are vertebrates. In other words, they do have a backbone and a complex skeletal system just like other vertebrates.
In the animal kingdom, frogs are classified as amphibians. All amphibians are vertebrates aka have full skeletal structures. Being a vertebrate/ having a full skeletal system is an important thing that defines all amphibians.
The frog full skeletal system includes a flat skull, a backbone with nine vertebrae, and many other bones.
Why Do Frogs Have a Full Skeletal Structure?
All vertebrates including frogs and humans have got a full skeletal system. All vertebrate skeletal systems have got a vertebral column or backbone of some sort. As mentioned in the section above, frogs have a backbone in their skeletal system just like all other vertebrates. The backbone is the main bone in all vertebrate skeletal systems.
I believe it is important to note that the backbone is actually not a single bone. It is a series of bones that run from the skull to the bottom end of all vertebrates. The bones are known as vertebrae (singular: vertebra).
The main purpose of the backbone in all vertebrates including frogs is to support the body weight of the animal that has it. In other words, all vertebrates have their body weight supported by their backbones.
The other bones in vertebrates that support limbs, enable complex movements, and protect important body organs in the body are also supported by the backbone. Therefore, it is fair to say that the backbone is very important for all vertebrates.
The second purpose of the backbone is to protect the spinal cord that runs within it. The spinal cord is a collection of nerve fibers from the brain that runs down the body of every vertebrate through the backbone. It is the only way the brain of every vertebrate communicates with and controls the rest of the body. So it is very important and this is the reason why it needs protection.
Therefore, the answer to the question “Why Do Frogs Have a Full Skeletal Structure?” is that they need it to support their body weight, enable their movements, and to protect their spinal cord.
Does The Frog Backbone Enhance Their Movements?
Absolutely! The frog backbone enhances the movements of frogs. It is very important for movement because it is the main part of the frog skeletal system on which the limbs (the arms and the legs) of frogs are connected. So without it, frogs cannot literally move. Frogs also have their heads connected to their backbone. So without it, they cannot move their heads.
As noted in the section above, the backbone in vertebrates is not a single bone. It is a series of bones known as vertebrae (singular: vertebra) joined together with elastic ligaments. Because the backbone is a series of bones joined together with elastic ligaments, it is flexible and it enables frogs to jump, twist, and perform other complex movements that would not be possible if they had a single backbone.
The frog backbone also enhances their movement because it is short and connects with a relatively massive hipbone to support their big leg muscles. This is what enables them to jump far and high when they are on land.
So the frog backbone is very important for their movement and it enables frogs to jump around like frogs.
Do Frog Tadpoles Have a Backbone?
No, they do not. Frog tadpoles are really tiny and they do not have a backbone or a skeletal system. In fact, they have no real bone in them. However, they do not really need one as they do not have a bodyweight to support and they can move in water using their long tails.
However, they do have a soft skeleton made of cartilage. It is not very useful to them when they are in the immature tadpole form but it is what metamorphoses into a skeletal system as they rapidly develop into adults.
Are There Similarities between Frogs and Other Vertebrates?
Yes, there are. The differences between frogs and other vertebrates such as us humans are very clear. They are many and they really do not need any explaining. However, the similarities are usually not very obvious to many people. This is because they are not external.
Frogs are similar to other vertebrates in many ways. The main similarity between frogs and vertebrates is the fact that they all have a skeletal system. Although the appearance, shape, and size of the skeletal system varies across the countless number of known vertebrate species, it is the same thing and it serves the main purpose of supporting the bodyweight of the animal that has it.
Frogs are also similar to other vertebrates in the sense that they have body systems that work in somewhat the same way humans and other vertebrate body systems work. Similar body systems in frogs and other vertebrates include the circulatory system, the respiratory system, and the excretory system.
Frogs also have a nervous system just like we humans and other vertebrates have. The frog nervous system includes a small brain and a spinal cord with nerve fibers. It is kind of a primitive version of what advanced vertebrates like we humans have.
What Class of Vertebrates Do Frogs Belong To?
Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they belong to the amphibian class of vertebrates. Most frog species, like most other amphibian species such as newts and salamanders, spend their lives on land and in water. Some species, however, spend their time only on land, while other species live exclusively in water.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the Smallest Frog Species?
The smallest frog species was discovered relatively recently on an island in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The tiny frog was baptized P. amanuensis. It measures just 7.7mm in size. So it is less than a centimeter in size. And in case you are wondering, yes it does have a full skeletal system.
While the frog has a relatively short lifespan (less than 12 months), it has the honor of being the tiniest vertebrate known to man. So it is both the smallest frog and the smallest vertebrate known to man.
What is the Largest Vertebrate Known to Man?
The largest vertebrate known to man is the blue whale. In contrast to the tiniest vertebrate (a tiny frog less than 1cm in size), it measures over 3,000 cm and weighs more than 400K pounds. In other words, it is massive.
How Many Vertebrate Species Are There?
There are thousands of vertebrate species. In fact, the number nearly seventy thousand. The species are divided into several groups known as classes. The common classes include amphibians, mammals, reptiles, fish, and birds.
While vertebrates are certainly many, they only make up about 3 percent of the world’s animals. About 97 percent of the world’s animals are invertebrates aka have no skeletal systems and backbone.
What is the Main Difference between Toads and Frogs?
There is no significant difference between toads and frogs because toads are a frog type. However, in terms of appearance, frogs have dry and somewhat rough skin and they usually appear bigger and less agile to jump as high and as far as frogs.
It is important to know the difference between frogs and toads to stay away from toads. This is because many toads are poisonous. They secrete poison in their skin just like other amphibians such as salamanders do. So knowing them and avoiding them should be your mission.
You can keep a toad as a pet but you should learn how to handle toads first before bringing one to your home.
Can Frogs Breathe Underwater?
Yes, they can. Frogs can breathe underwater through their skins. It is a special adaptation they have to survive underwater looking for food or hiding from predators above water. Frogs can theoretically stay underwater indefinitely if the conditions are right.
Frogs are vertebrates. They belong to a group of vertebrates known as amphibians. Like all vertebrates, frogs have a full skeletal system and a backbone that supports their weight and aids their movement.