"The pumpkin toadlet, which is a frog but not a toad, is so terrible at landing its jumps that its sheer incompetence has become a subject of scientific inquiry." Sabrina Imbler reports for Defector:

This passage elevates the whole thing to high comedy:

> Finding bug-sized frogs in Brazil is an arduous task. Even though a pumpkin toadlet is as bright as a Cheeto, the leaf litter teems with neon fungi and other orange-colored life. “It is extremely hard to catch underneath the leaf litter,” [grad student André] Confetti said. “Especially for me, because I’m colorblind.”


> When Essner saw the footage, he burst out laughing. Then he immediately became consumed by the problem at hand. The toadlets were so far from the belly-flopping tailed frogs on the frog family tree, meaning the problem was not ancestral. So why couldn’t they land a single jump? “It wasn’t a ‘Eureka’ moment,” Essner said. “It was a, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ moment.”

Since Ed Yong's been mostly on the COVID beat, Sabrina Imbler has quickly become one of my must-read science reporters—see their earlier pun-filled piece about gluttonous moray eels

@nev after staring at these animations repeatedly one side effect occurs to me: the way they're all stiff like that at the end makes the toads look kinda dead

this could be an additional predator deterrent




AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA <crash> <bounce> <bounce> ow! <thud!>

@nev The researcher's name being Confetti somehow made this perfect story even more perfect. :flan_aww:

@nev someday though, the one frog that lands it will be crowned emperor.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

🍹🌴 a smol island in the sun 🌴🍹