Thursday, July 28, 2016

[Herpetology • 2016] Living in A Japanese Onsen: Field Observations and Physiological Measurements of Hot Spring Amphibian Tadpoles, Buergeria japonica


Tadpoles living in Onsen: Tadpoles of the Japanese stream tree frog  Buergeria japonica can live in water the highest ever-recorded temperatures for any amphibian tadpole, 46.1 ºC (115 ºF), in the natural hot springs on Kuchinoshima, a Japanese island. The research from Hiroshima University directly connects the physical ability to adapt to environmental conditions and the ability to disperse over a wide geographic range.
 Image: Shohei Komaki DOI: 10.1163/15685381-00003052

The Japanese stream tree frog, Buergeria japonica, is widely distributed across the southern islands of Japan and Taiwan. While the species is known to inhabit hot springs, this has only been reported in Taiwan. To further understand the utilization of hot springs by B. japonica, we conducted field observations of tadpoles from a hot spring on Kuchinoshima Island, a tiny volcanic island of southwestern Japan. We found that tadpoles on Kuchinoshima Island inhabited hot spring pools with extremely high temperatures that exceeded temperatures in which any other amphibians have been found. In addition, we conducted thermal tolerance measurements and found that the thermal tolerance of B. japonica tadpoles was high. These findings suggest that high thermal tolerance of B. japonica is maintained even at the northern tip of its distribution, and this has allowed them to widen their available niche and inhabit a hot spring on the tiny island of Kuchinoshima.

Keywords: volcanic island; Rhacophorus; geothermal hot spring; thermal tolerance


  Shohei Komaki, Quintin Lau and Takeshi Igawa. 2016. Living in A Japanese Onsen: Field Observations and Physiological Measurements of Hot Spring Amphibian Tadpoles, Buergeria japonica  Amphibia-Reptilia.  DOI: 10.1163/15685381-00003052

Japanese tadpoles relax in hot springs: One type of juvenile frog can survive in hot onsen water https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160726094317.htm

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