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Species of the week: celebrating the original Pacman

Posted by on June 13, 2013

By Jenni Lacey, Marketing Assistant at the Society of Biology

Orante horned frog, pacman frog

The Society of Biology’s species of the week: the Ornate horned frog

Ornate horned frogs (Ceratophrys ornata) are affectionately known as the Pacman frog due to their characteristic wide mouth and large rotund stomach.

They are sedentary amphibians and notorious for their gluttonous eating habits. Their behaviour echoes the 80’s arcade game they take this nick-name from: their instant response to food placed in their path is to eat it.

These frogs have an impressive growth rate and within two weeks of tadpoles hatching will have developed into an adult form and will continue growing until the females reach around 6 inches and males to around 4 inches.

Their carnivorous nature allows them to thrive in the rainforests of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil where they survive on a diet of insects, rodents, lizards and even other frogs that cross their path. Sadly, their appetite can result in a real situation of ‘eyes-too-big-for-their-stomach’ (or at least their airways) and they have been known to suffocate trying to swallow-whole small animals.

Herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians) is becoming an increasingly popular hobby and area for study and the importance of amphibians as crucial bio-indicators meaning they are increasingly being celebrated rather than feared. A captive breeding committee was also founded in the 1970’s by the British Herpetological Society which promotes responsible breeding projects, animal welfare and offers advice to amphibian enthusiasts.

To learn about other fascinating and wonderful species explore ARKive, featuring the world’s best wildlife and environmental photographers.


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