Laboratory Frogs

Part of the Frogs: A Chorus of Colors exhibition.

African clawed frogs make ideal lab animals. They are easy to raise, require little space, and are sensitive to environmental changes. The transparent eggs of most frogs offer embryologists a chance to watch babies grow from single cells into wriggling tadpoles. Scientists have used frogs to study muscle function, perform pregnancy tests, and experiment with cloning. The first frog was cloned 30 years before Dolly the sheep.


Courtesy of Clyde Peeling's Reptiland

African Clawed Frog

Xenopus laevis

Class: Amphibia
Family: Pipidae
Size: 2 to 4 ½ inches
Food: Mosquito larvae, insects, worms, dead organic matter
Range: Sub-Saharan Africa; introduced in freshwater areas worldwide
Habitat: Almost totally aquatic; stagnant pools, puddles, streams
Life Cycle: The female lays hundreds of sticky eggs attached to plants. The total change from egg to small frog takes 6 to 8 weeks.