The ’s lgest s also have the best pollywog daye on the mket. To protect its wee tadpoles, these enormous amphibians build their own “nursery ponds,” somes rocks more than half their weight to do so, and then guding the pond to ensure the generation’s survival, a study detls.

The finding mks the s have described the Goliath frog’s(Conraua goliath) nest-building and penting tics. , local s in have kn about it for yes, and they were the to tell the rerchers about the s’ pental dedication.

In f, the rerchers were studying something completely different (they were studying the of Goliath tadpoles) when “we hed about the breeding of the Goliaths and decided to investigate if it [were] true or not,” sd study senior rercher Mk-Oliver Rödel, of herpetology at the Natural in . [15 of the Largest Animals of Their Kind on Earth]

The 7.3-lb. (3.3 kilograms) Goliath is native to and Equatorial . To len more about its nesting quirks, the s spent pt of 2018 rching a 1,300-foot (400 meters) section of the Mpoula River in western . They also ed four s and two villrs who lived ne the river to len more about C. goliath’s habits.

In , the s found 22 breeding sites, 14 of which had almost 3,000 eggs apiece. The even set up a -lapse at one nest, which showed a Goliath guarding the nest at night.

These s e creative builders, constructing three different types of nests, the rerchers found. One type, the rock-pool nest, was built on lger rocks within the river, meaning that “s were using pre-eisting structures for breeding,” the rerchers wrote in the study.

For the second type, s used natury eisting show pools ne the river as nests. It eed that the s had enlged these pools, the rerchers noticed, in essence turning a cott into a McMansion. For the third type, the s dug sm ponds, surrounding them with lge stones, some weighing up to 4.4 . (2 kg).

Impressively, none of these nests had debris in them, suggesting that the s also acted as housekeepers, keeping the ponds for their tadpoles. “We have never observed them directly, but from indirect evidence, it is ent that they push out material (e.g. leaves, pebbles) from natural ponds or push away lger and smer stones to create their ‘own’ ponds,” Rödel t Live in an eml.

It’s likely that the s, which e more than 1.1 feet (34 centers) , use “their and very muscul legs” to move the stones, he added.

While the rerchers never directly witnessed a Goliath digging a nest, “the most detled description we got (from one frog hunter) was that the would construct the nest while the wts in proimity,” the s wrote in the study. “Once the nest is finished, the whistles to attr the , which then is grasped by the and eggs e deposited. Afterwds, the would gud the nest and subsequently open the nest towds the river.”

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Digging a pond a the river would step these , but if it doesn’t rn for a spell, the pond could dry up, killing the tadpoles. “Thus, each of the three nest types has advants and disadvants, and the s need to choose what is best at a certn ,” Rödel sd.

Goliath s en’t the only amphibian super out . The gladiator (Hypsiboas rosenbergi) in builds nests for its ng, while the bull (Pyicephalus adspersus) guds tadpoles and digs channels up to 40 feet (12 m) to ow tadpoles to escape from drying pools, the rerchers noted. , Goliath is the only kn to build nesting ponds, the rerchers sd.

Unfortunately, the Goliath is ened, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, lgely because of habitat loss and fragmentation, , and hunting. (The s e con a luury and e often served at weddings, Rödel sd.)

It would be a shame to lose these creatures without fully understanding them, he sd. “The why we wanted (and uy did) study the tadpoles, was that we needed to k more about the of the species, just to make sure we k what to do in case a captive breeding program might be the last for the Goliaths’ survival in the future.”

The study was published Friday (Aug. 9) in the Journal of Natural History.

Originy published on Live Science.

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