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Explanation Of Common Technical Terms 
Used In Frog Descriptions.
Courtesy of the Tablelands Frog Club

by Wayne Martin

Like most fields of scientific endeavour, herpetology (the study of frogs and reptiles) involves a certain amount of jargon. In this section I will attempt to explain the terms he uses. I will provide other definitions as required in forthcoming newsletters. Over time you will be able to build up a dictionary of common terms.

tympanum: The frogs eardrum, located on the side of the head, behind the eye.

supratympanic fold: A fold of skin laying along the upper edge of the tympanum, and running down to the neck.

dorsal: The upper surface of the frog, its back.

lateral: The sides of the frog.

ventral: The lower surface of the frog, its belly.

nuptial pads: A roughened pad on the thumb and first finger of male frogs which develops during the breeding season.

amplexus: The breeding position. This may be axillary (the male grips the females armpits) or inguinal (the male grips the females groin).

lentic tadpole: A tadpole adapted to living in still pools. Have an oval body, mouth at the front of the head, and deep fins.

lotic tadpole: A tadpole adapted to living in fast­flowing streams. Have a flattened body, a sucker-like mouth on the underside of the head, and narrow fins.

 dextral: located on the right side of the body.

 spiracle: A small tube opening on the side of the tadpoles body.

 sinistral: located on the left side of the body.

 papillae: Small fleshy bumps around the tadpoles mouth.

 oral disc: The slightly funnel shaped area around the tadpoles mouth.

 caudal: Relating to the tail. Caudal stripes means stripes on the tail.

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