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Frog Teeth: Interesting Things That Will Surprise You

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Many people often wonder if this amphibian species is toothless or has teeth, but the fact is that frogs have teeth while toads are toothless.

Did you know that Gastrotheca Guentheri is the only frog species with teeth, upper jaw, and lower jaw? Research is going on to understand if these amphibians use their teeth the same way as the other animals with evolutionary teeth and functions.

Frogs have teeth to hold onto their prey and to keep food from escaping out of their mouth. Some species of teeth frogs are goliath frogs, horned frogs, and poison dart frogs. Out of all 7,000 species of frogs, only one has proper teeth on both their lower jaws and upper jaws of their mouth, the south American marsupial tree frog called Gastrotheca Guentheri. After reading about the evolution of maxillary teeth and vomerine teeth in frogs, check out related fact files on frog tongue and frog teeth.

Do frogs have teeth?

In animations, we have seen a frog's mouth illustrated with no teeth in its mouth. Do frogs have teeth in their mouth, or are they like how people illustrate them in animations without any? Let's find out about the mystery and use of frog teeth and other amphibian teeth.

With the visuals provided by the Florida museum of natural history, we can see that the teeth of such amphibians, like frogs, are more complex than they look. Frog teeth acrodont is very small in shape and therefore answers why we haven't seen their teeth while they smile. Each tooth is a small shape and size of less than a millimeter in length.

The tooth shapes are bicuspid, with two little pointing at the end of each tooth. These tiny teeth of frogs are seen in the frog's upper jaw in their mouths rather than the lower jaw of their mouths. Teeth in frogs have lost their evolutionary element more than other vertebrate groups. The museum of natural history says that the loss of teeth in the new generation of frogs might be connected with a diet change that the frogs without teeth can take advantage of. Also, as history says, those functional body parts might stop growing in the future generation of animals if not used for a long time. An example is the tail of a monkey or an ape. Slowly, the ape, without much use of their tails, evolved or found a new evolutionary species in their lineage; the homosapiens.

This might be the same case with the frogs that prey on small invertebrate animals or insects like ants, mites, and termites, for which they need not use their teeth. And this slowly brought evolution into their species of toads and frogs, making them toothless.

How many teeth do frogs have?

Frogs are known to have two sets of teeth in their mouth. On the upper roof of a frog's mouth, you can find the vomerine teeth. While at the edge of their mouth, you can see the maxillary teeth. Both types of teeth in a frog's mouth help hold their prey and diet food in their mouth.

As you would know, frogs do not chew their food and swallow everything directly. All the tooth that a frog has is to anchor the animal in its mouth rather than chew them. The only frog with genuine teeth is the Gastrotheca Guentheri type of frog species. In both of their jaws in their mouth, they have true teeth. The regular maxillary teeth of frogs are the sharp teeth in their mouth. These maxillary teeth are used to hold the captured animals or prey in their mouth.

These vertebrate frog amphibians, the Rana Temporaria, defined by the name of common European frog, have typical similar anuran features. The frog has about 40 small teeth on the upper jaw of the mouth. Also, they have 30 maxillary teeth and eight premaxillary teeth as well. Also, four to five teeth on each vomer are noticed in these European frogs. We have talked about frogs having teeth. But what about those frogs without teeth?

Well, the "true toads" of the Bufonidae frog family have no teeth in their mouth. These big amphibians use their long sticking tongues to catch the flies and food and swallow them into their round bellies. These large toads without any teeth can even swallow big animals like snakes, birds, ants, mice, and even other frog species into their mouths without any teeth.

Samples of frog teeth are available for inspection at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

What do frogs use their teeth for?

Species of frogs have teeth in their upper jaw, which they use for capturing their prey animals. Even though frogs have teeth, they use their projectile tongues for catching prey. In comparison to other animal or mammal teeth, frog teeth don't play many roles in capturing and processing a prey insect or animal.

Frogs never chew their food while eating. Most amphibians are known not to chew any of their food or prey. This makes frog teeth function only as a way to hold onto their prey while catching them. Also, those tree frog teeth lose their functionality by entirely relying on their tongues and not at all using their teeth for capturing prey.

Frogs and their dental structures were primarily designed to capture other diet foods like insects and small invertebrates. But now, most frogs use their tongues for this purpose as their ancestors forgot to use their teeth in a hurry to eat termites fast. And they used their tongues to capture all the food. This resulted in rudimentation of their teeth, just like how our appendix became a vestigial organ. The science world has tried to prove the evolved research that the scientists have found about frog teeth.

Well, the teeth in animals played a great role in their vertebrate evolution. But there were some groups like the toads and some frogs which lived or survived without any teeth. An interesting fact about frogs teeth is that the old teeth fall out, and new teeth grow in the frog's mouth. Well, it's not like one time how we humans get new adult teeth after all the milk teeth have fallen off. A frog has mainly two types of teeth- vomerine teeth and maxillary teeth. And their teeth are classified into all three categories of homodont, acrodont, and polyphyodont.

Do frogs bite?

Another question that might cling to your head is, will these toothless creatures and species bite? Just now, we had discussed that these frog species do not use their teeth for chewing. Well, that cuts off the function of the bite of their food. But they do bite into their prey to get a hold of them to eat.

Among several vertebrates, only some of the frog species enjoy biting with their teeth. Other frog groups like Pacman frogs, African bullfrogs, and the Budgett's frog are among those who do not do much biting. The Pacman frogs bite anything that they feel is threatening for them. The poison dart frog bite can be poisonous, and it is better to stay away from them. Frogs can bite, and only some frogs that do not have teeth cannot bite.

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

Written By
Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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