Pobblebonk frogs have a weird trick for surviving very acidic pools

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Highly acidic water usually breaks down a tadpole’s gill lining, but an Australian frog has evolved to suck in more protective calcium from the extreme ecosystem where it lives



Life



29 July 2022

A pobblebonk frog (Limnodynastes terraereginae) in south-east Queensland, Australia

A scarlet-sided pobblebonk frog in south-east Queensland, Australia

Australia’s scarlet-sided pobblebonk frog thrives in waters so acidic they should be deadly, with its tadpoles tolerating water with a pH within the range of human stomach acid. This may be thanks to the frogs’ heightened ability to draw dissolved calcium from the water into their gills, alleviating the harmful effects of the acid.

Freshwater lakes and streams typically fall into the neutral range of 6 to 8 on the pH scale. But naturally occurring highly acidic freshwater ecosystems, such as …



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