JUL 06, 2017 9:11 AM PDT

Here's What Causes Abnormal Leg Count in Frogs

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


Normally, frogs develop from tadpoles with just two hind legs. But there are unique circumstances in which they can develop anywhere from 0-10 legs.

It can occur from bird defects, but it usually happens when the tadpole becomes infected with a specific kind of parasite. After the parasite has made its home inside of the tadpole host, it invades the leg buds of the tadpole and develops into a cyst, which gets in the way of the buds eventually growing into legs.

As a result, the tadpole's body gets confused and begins growing legs sporadically. In some instances, legs don't grow at all, but in many others, more than 2 appear.

The legs stay with the tadpole throughout its life, including when it develops into a full-sized frog. This makes the frog less adept at getting around, making it easier for the parasite to spread to new hosts when the frog eventually gets eaten by birds.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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