Frog Tongue: Fascinating Facts We Bet You Didn't Know

Supriya Jain
Sep 01, 2023 By Supriya Jain
Originally Published on Nov 12, 2021
Edited by Jade Scott
Fact-checked by Nishtha Dixit
a green water frog croaking

Have you checked the research on the frog tongue from the Georgia Institute of Technology done by Alexis Noel and her assistant David Hu?

The adaptable frog tongue can easily grasp wet, hairy, and slippery surfaces. Even home tapes are unable to adhere to moist or dusty surfaces.

According to Alexis Noel, frogs use a particular type of reversible saliva paired with a super-soft tongue to grasp onto prey. This sticky, whip-like tongue is used by numerous species of frogs and toads to catch prey faster than a human can blink.

The materials combined with the speed will force the insect to get captured quite easily. The saliva becomes more liquid to enter the cracks in the body of the insect.

As per the studies of researchers, the barrier to the movement of saliva is measured in viscosity. Viscosity is a popular metric for comparing fluid.

The frog has certain viscoelastic fluid-like materials and it will force the prey to stick. To run a viscosity test, a rheometer, which is a machine that is known to measure viscosity, needs roughly a fifth of a teaspoon of fluid.

Amphibians are one of the few animals that release saliva through glands on their tongue. Leopard frogs are little, cute frogs that make excellent beginners' pets.

The leopard frog is not deadly in the same way that a poison-dart frog is. Poison dart frogs are among the most poisonous creatures on Earth, with certain species possessing poison capable of killing an adult human.

After reading all about what goes **** inside the mouth of a frog, be sure to also check out some interesting facts about fox teeth and frog teeth.

Frog Tongue Length

Frogs do, in fact, have long tongues, at least in comparison to other animals. The tongue of a frog is normally one-third the length of its body, which means it is rarely more than an inch long and frequently smaller.

By our standards, it's not particularly massive, but by theirs, it's enormous. The frog tongue is also linked to the front of the frog's mouth, allowing it to launch practically the entire tongue out.

It gets up and running in a flash. In 0.07 seconds, a frog can extend its tongue, catch an insect, and draw it back into its mouth which is five times faster than the human eye can blink.

Insects caught in the tongue can experience 12 Gs, or 12 times the force of gravity, whereas astronauts normally endure 3 Gs during a rocket launch. During research, it was found that frog tongue color could be best described as black, blue, or purple with a pink base/back.

They could also use the tongue to quickly snap insects into their mouths for food. Researchers have found that the tongue has a similar grip to adhesives.

The adhesives force the insects to get stuck on the tongue. Insects contain a frog's necessary nutritional requirements, says the research. Long tongues are linked to the front of toads' mouths.

Toads actively crawl around in search of prey. They go just close enough to reach anything tasty and use a swift flick of their lengthy tongue when they see something tasty so that they can catch it.

Frog Tongue Shape

Frogs are known for having sticky tongues that allow them to catch evasive prey. While the movements of the tongue during feeding in various groups of frogs have gotten a lot of attention in the past, little is known about the functional mechanisms that allow frog tongues to stick together.

Except in M. nasuta, where the filiform papillae have flat tips, the terminal sections of the filiform papillae in frog tongues are rounded. The forces acting on frogs' tongues upon impact and retraction can be more than the animals' body weight.

Despite the amazing abilities of projectile tongues as biological high-speed adhesive systems and high-speed tongue movements in vertebrates, little is understood about what causes their sticky characteristics.

Why is the frog tongue attached in front of the mouth?

The tongues of frogs are linked to the front of their mouths, rather than the back, as they are in humans. According to new research, frogs use a particular type of reversible saliva paired with a super-soft tongue to grasp onto prey.

The anterior end of the frog's tongue is linked to the tip of the lower jaw, while the hind end is free.

The tongues of humans are attached to the backs of our mouths, whereas the tongues of frogs are attached directly where their mouths begin. This serves a practical purpose.

The frog tongue uses an inertial projection mechanism to project out of the mouth. The jaw opens quickly, the tongue rotates, and tissue inertia causes the tongue to project toward the prey.

There are various species of frog around us, but the common thing among species of frog is the high-speed tongue tissue inside the frog's mouth for prey capture. Some may even compare the tongue tissue to a bungee cord since bungee cord acts in a similar way, like a spring.

The tongue cannot be compared to a human tongue. The human tongue is far wider and slower in comparison. Frog saliva is normally wet, soft, sticky, and thick like honey.

The frog saliva spreads all over the nooks and helps in prey capture for the frogs eating. The capture of prey is a lot easier due to these traits.

Frog Tongue Mechanism

Frog tongues are connected with the front of the lower jaw, rather than at the rear of the throat, as they are in humans. As previously mentioned, the frog tongue uses an inertial projection mechanism to project out of the mouth.

This causes the jaw to open quickly and the tongue to rotate, and tissue inertia causes the tongue to project toward the prey.

When a frog catches an insect, it sticks out its sticky tongue and wraps it around its victim. The frog's tongue snaps back and the meal is thrown down the frog's throat.

The tongue of a frog is ten times softer than ours, almost as malleable as your brain. Due to its softness, the tongue can wrap itself around a frog's victim, slathering the fly with highly sticky saliva and trapping it like glue.

Alexis Noel, a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has recently finished a whirlwind 12-day period surrounding her first ever published work, which explained why the mouths of frogs are sticky. To catch rapidly moving, elusive prey, frogs are considered to use adhesive tongues.

The tongues are moved swiftly and stick to diverse prey surfaces instantly.

The functional shape of frog tongues has recently been discussed in relation to their adhesive effectiveness.

The contact between the tongue surface and the mucus covering is thought to have a role in creating substantial pull-off forces. Despite the widespread belief that the surface structure of frog tongues is critical for good prey engagement, nothing is known about it.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for frog tongue then why not take a look at lizard tongue, or poison dart frog facts.

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Written by Supriya Jain

Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Supriya Jain picture

Supriya JainBachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.

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Fact-checked by Nishtha Dixit

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Nishtha Dixit picture

Nishtha DixitBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Nishtha is an experienced SEO writer and editor, with a passion for writing and self-expression. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate major in Literature and Communication and a minor in Political Science from the University of Delhi. Nishtha has completed a certificate master course in English from the British Council and has been appointed as the editor for the bi-monthly magazine of the University of Delhi.

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