Largest tadpole

Meet Goliath, Probably the Largest Tadpole You’ve Ever Seen

American bullfrogs are the biggest frogs in North America, so you’d expect their tadpoles to be on the chunky side too.
Mostly… they are. Typically growing to a maximum of 6 inches.
Unfortunately, nobody told that to this over-sized monster found in a pond in Arizona.

The frogs are native to the Eastern United States, but were introduced into the southwest during the 1900’s due to the popularity of frog legs as food. Now they’re found in all of the lower 48 states.

They aren’t the most welcome of invaders though, due to their habit of quickly devastating a local ecosystem, and are often cleared out of areas where they’re found.

Which is exactly how this gigantic tadpole was found.

While working for American Museum of Natural History’s Southwestern Research Station (SWRS), herpetologist Earyn McGee explained how volunteer Alina Downer felt something bump her leg as it swam through the mud.
“At first, she thought it was a fish but when she reached down she was surprised to see a very large bullfrog tadpole.”

The team have since named the tadpole Goliath.

McGee tweeted photos of Goliath comparing his immense size to a banana and a Coke can, both of which he’s larger than.
And he’s still growing!

It’s thought Goliath’s abnormal size is likely due to a hormone imbalance which may also stop him from morphing into a frog.

Sadly, the future isn’t looking too good for Goliath. “The drawbacks of Goliath’s size is that his respiratory and circulatory system may not continue to support his body size as he continues to grow,” McGee told LiveScience.

The SWRS scientists are continuing to study Goliath, with the aim of pinpointing the exact cause of his condition.
Data on his measurements, growth rate and feeding behavior are being collected for a future peer-reviewed study.

Feature Image Credit: Earyn McGee/SWRS

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