If you have ever been unable to find a bathroom in a moment of need, you know the gotta-go feeling. That is nothing compared to the wood frog, which does not urinate all winter.
In Alaska, wood frogs go eight months without peeing. Scientists have now figured out how they do it, or more accurately, how they survive without doing it.
Recycling urea — the main waste in urine — into useful nitrogen keeps the small frogs alive as they hibernate and freeze, inside and out.
It does not warm them up. Instead, urea protects cells and tissues, even as the critter’s heart, brain and bloodstream stop.
The frogs can do it because special microbes in their guts recycle the urea, according to a new study in Tuesday’s journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Some call the frog pee a type of antifreeze, but study coauthor Jon Costanzo, a zoologist at Miami University in Ohio, bristles at that term.
“Their eyes are white. Their skin is frosty. They’re like little rocks. They’re frozen,” Costanzo said.
If the frogs were human, they would be called dead, Costanzo said.
However, once the temperatures warm, they come back to life.
Wood frogs live all over the US and in the Arctic Circle.
“Some Alaskan wood frogs get as cold as 0 degrees [F, minus-18°C]”, he said.
Other animals do not urinate when they hibernate, but mammals do not do the big freeze quite like wood frogs, which wake up in still-cold February to mate, he said.
Costanzo and colleagues looked at the bacteria that live in frog guts. Many are also in animals that hibernate.
One type of bacteria soars in the winter, but cannot be seen in active frogs. It is called Pseudomonas and it thrives in the cold.
Richard Tracy, a biologist at the University of Nevada, Reno, who was not part of the study, said he found the study’s conclusions sound, but the methods simplistic.
Finding out what was happening inside the creatures was not easy.
Costanzo’s team captured wood frogs, which blend in well with the soil and leaves, during active times and then turn them into frog-sicles under controlled conditions.
“This is stress that would definitely kill any mammal,” Costanzo said. “People are fascinated by bear hibernation, but in my book any animal that allows itself to freeze solid and is able to recover from it and walk away and thus go about its business like nothing happened, to me that’s about as cool as it gets.”
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of