Starvation, malnutrition and re-feeding can have deadly consequences for humans and most animals but not Australias green-striped burrowing frog.
PhD student Rebecca Cramp from The University of Queensland has found that unlike most animals, which cant digest food after long periods of starvation, the green-striped burrowing frog is able to absorb nutrients 40 percent more effectively after 3 months without food, than frogs that had eaten regularly. "They can take massive meals equivalent to 50 percent of their body mass and maximise their digestive capability from the outset," Ms Cramp said.
Little is known about the effects of prolonged food deprivation on the gut of animals that go without food for long periods. Ms Cramps study is helping explain why animals such as the green-striped burrowing frog are able to gorge themselves on huge meals without overwhelming their digestive system. "Nothing was known about their digestive physiology when I first started this project and for an animal that can starve for up to four years it is really interesting when you relate that back to human starvation," she said. "There is no way a human could last for four years without food."
Chris Saxby | EurekAlert!
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