An aquatic frog, Barbourula kalimantanensis, is seen in Kalimantan, Indonesia on Aug. 14, 2007.
BANGKOK, Thailand -- A frog has been found in a remote part of Indonesia that has no lungs and breathes through its skin, a discovery that researchers said Thursday could provide insight into what drives evolution in certain species.Quote has been trimmed
The aquatic frog Barbourula kalimantanensis was found in a remote part of Indonesia's Kalimantan province on Borneo island during an expedition in August 2007, said David Bickford, an evolutionary biologist at the National University of Singapore. Bickford was part of the trip and co-authored a paper on the find that appeared in this week's edition of the peer-reviewed journal Current Biology.
Bickford said the species is the first frog known to science without lungs and joins a short list of amphibians with this unusual trait, including a few species of salamanders and a wormlike creature known as a caecilian.
"These are about the most ancient and bizarre frogs you can get on the planet," Bickford said of the brown amphibian with bulging eyes and a tendency to flatten itself as it glides across the water.
"They are like a squished version of Jabba the Hutt," he said, referring to the character from Star Wars. "They are flat and have eyes that float above the water. They have skin flaps coming off their arms and legs."