Argentine Horned Frog Biology: Classification Report Lena Pulbrook
The Argentine Horned Frog (Ceratophrys Ornata) is an amphibian that lives in the rain forests of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. It is also known as the Argentine wide-mouthed frog or the Pac-man frog (because of its resemblance to the Pac man cartoon with its huge mouth) and it has an insatiable appetite. It will devour anything in its path even if it is to big to swallow, sometimes even suffocating to death when it cannot swallow its prey. The Argentine Horned Frog is the most common of the horned frogs and can live for up to 10 years.
Domain: The argentine horned frog is a part of the domain Eukarya. The organisms of this group have a complex cell structure with organelles and a nucleus. Four of the five kingdoms are in this domain; animals, fungi, plants and various protists.
Full Hierarchical Classification
Cladus: Chordata Craniata
Kingdom: The Argentine Horned Frog belongs to the kingdom animalia. This is known because it shares several important characteristics that set it apart from other living things; It is multicellular, separating it from protists and bacteria, heterotrophic, meaning it digests its food in an internal chamber rather than by photosynthesis like plants, it lacks a cell wall and is motile. Along with these defining characteristics it has one that is totally exclusive to animals, its embryos pass through a blastula stage. All these characteristics grouped together prove that the Argentine Horned Frog belongs in the kingdom animalia.
Phylum: The Argentine Horned Frog belongs to the phylum Chordate. It also belongs to the sub-phylum craniata. The frog can be classified into this phylum because it shares the set of characteristics associated with this group; It is a vertebrate meaning it has a backbone and it has, for at least some period in its life circle had; a notochord ( which develops into the spine), a hollow dorsal nerve chord (which develops into the spinal chord), pharyngeal slits ( these are either gills or a filter feeding system. In the case of the Argentine Horned Frog it is a filter feeding system), a muscular tail ( the Argentine Horned Frog has this when it is a tadpole and an endostyle this is located in the pharynx and produces a mucus which allows filter feeding species to feed by helping the food particles to reach the esophagus.
Class: The Argentine Horned Frog belongs to the class amphibia and the sub-class lissamphibia. It fits into this class because it shares the characteristics of; being able to elevate the eye, its ribs don't encircle its body, it has two types of skin glands-granular and mucous, it has pedicellate teeth (the crown of the tooth is separated from the root by a layer of fibrous tissue), it’s larvae undergo metamorphosis to reach adulthood, its eardrum is visible and the Argentine Horned frog also has green rod cells, a special type of visual cell that is unknown throughout the other classes. The other two subclasses in amphibia are now extinct. Lissamphibia is the only one living.
Order: The Argentine Horned Frog belongs to the order Anura. The frog can be classified into this order because it possesses the characteristics of other organisms belonging to this group. These characteristics are; a short body, webbed fingers and toes, protruding eyes, the absence of a tail and their larvae or tadpole have gills and live in water until they grow lungs.
Family: The Argentine Horned Frog belongs to the family leptodactylidae and the sub-family ceratophryinae. This is because it has several important characteristics associated with that group. These characteristics are; Having a large flap of skin or ‘horn’ over each eye (this is typical to the sub-family ceratophryinae or ‘horned frogs’), a wide head and a huge mouth. Horned Frogs also are carnivorous and eat other frogs. These frogs may be terrestrial, aquatic or burrowing.
Genus: The Argentine Horned Frog belongs to the genus Ceratophrys. It fits into this classification because it has similar characteristics as others of this group. These characteristics are; They live in south America, have a large mouth and body and are voracious eaters.
Species: The Argentine Horned Frog is also known as the Pac-man frog or the Argentine wide-mouthed frog its scientific name is Ceratophrys Ornata and the females can grow up to 14 cm, the males only get to about 10cm. The mouth of this frog is the size of about half its body, the coloration of the Argentine Horned Frog is typically bright green with red markings however other variations of their coloring are dark green, partially black or albino. Males are only distinguishable by their dark pigmented throats.
Environment: The Argentine Horned Frog lives in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, its habitat consists of a damp place with plenty of shallow water. They live in rainforests and temperate forests in South America. These frogs thrive in places with high humidity and warm temperatures. They like to bury themselves in earth or plant matter.
Distribution: lives in South America.
Diet: Argentine Horned Frogs are voracious eaters their diet consists of insects, small birds, lizards, small mammals and other frogs. They do not move around but rather lay in wait for their prey, when a meal is close they swallow it whole. Once these frogs have bitten their prey it is very hard for them to let go and sometimes they suffocate to death if a meal is too large.
Description: They are normally green in colour with red and black markings but they can sometimes be lighter, albino, or darker. They have a large body and a huge mouth that is at least half of their total size. They have sharp teeth and ‘horns’ over their eyes.
Other Facts: The Argentine Horned Frog is very aggressive and will attack when threatened. They are surprisingly fearless and will launch themselves at the enemy and bite them. They have very strong jaws and have been known to attack animals much larger than themselves. When threatened the frog will puff itself up and can make a screeching sound however their usual call sounds more like a bovine bellowing. These frogs have a bite of ‘bulldog tendency’ and even their young (tadpoles) are carnivorous. The frog lays about 1000-2000 eggs at a time.