Catch and Release

Red-Eyed Tree Frog, Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

on March 1, 2019

How much do you know about frogs? They snatch insects out of midair with their sticky tongues. But can you explain how they get the bug off that sticky tongue?

First the facts: The frog’s hunting technique requires two special designs: (a) a really soft tongue (like a marshmallow) and (b) sticky spit that can become unsticky instantly. When the tongue smacks into an insect, its softness allows the tongue to spread around the bug. The impact makes the sticky saliva runny for just an instant, so it can fill the empty spaces.

Once the morsel is surrounded, the pressure eases and the saliva becomes as thick as honey again.

Now can you solve the problem of releasing a fly inside the mouth? Here’s another hint: When frogs blink, the backs of their eyeballs help push food down their throat. So . . . special spit, food-shoving eyeballs—figure it out yet? You got it—those eyeballs put just enough pressure on the tongue to thin the saliva so it releases the bug.

It’s yet another imaginative, integrated design of our all-wise Maker who provides for his creatures even in a fallen world.

This article was taken from Answers magazine, September–October, 2018, pg 26.