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Scientists Discover A Frog That Can Change its Skin Texture

posted: 03/23/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Mutable frog
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The mutable frog can change the texture of its skin in a matter of minutes.
Tim Krynak

Case Western Reserve University today announced the discovery of what is believed to be the first amphibian capable of a texture change. Identified in the Ecuadorian rainforest, the mutable rainfrog can mimic surrounding textures in a matter of minutes, a physiological process known as skin texture plasticity.

Katherine Krynak, a Case Western University PhD student, first became aware of skin texture plasticity when she moved the frog from a specimen cup to a sheet of white plastic to be photographed.

"I then put the frog back in the cup and added some moss," she said in a news release. "The spines came back... we simply couldn't believe our eyes, our frog changed skin texture! I put the frog back on the smooth white background. Its skin became smooth."

Mutable rainfrog
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Development of the mutable rainfrog's skin texture plasticity over six minutes.
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society

Following the discovery, scientists are now concerned that other species with multiple states of plasticity may have been misidentified as two different species.

Click here for the full news release from Case Western Reserve University

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