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Name: Louise P.
Status: student
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Thursday, June 06, 2002


Question:
How do frogs breathe when they are hibernating?


Replies:
Louise,

Amphibians need to reside near water in order to keep their skin moist. The one advantage to this moist skin is that it can conduct oxygen, much like your lungs. During hybirnation, frogs dig deep under or near a body of fresh water where they slow their metabolism and heart beat significantly. Diffusion of oxygen through the skin is adequate to sustain the animal until the spring warm up and resumption of activity.

Good question.

Steve Sample


Aquatic frogs absorb oxygen through their skin and body cavities. This is from http://www.sciam.com/askexpert/biology/biology25/biology25.html "Aquatic frogs such as the leopard frog (Rana pipiens) and American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) typically hibernate underwater. A common misconception is that they spend the winter the way aquatic turtles do, dug into the mud at the bottom of a pond or stream. In fact, hibernating frogs would suffocate if they dug into the mud for an extended period of time. A hibernating turtle's metabolism slows down so drastically that it can get by on the mud's meager oxygen supply. Hibernating aquatic frogs, however, must be near oxygen-rich water and spend a good portion of the winter just lying on top of the mud or only partially buried. They may even slowly swim around from time to time."

J. Elliott


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