Move Over Mr. Stork

By Lovel Tippit

Science can be creepy! That is why we have “Science Fiction”, but what you’re about to read is most definitely the other kind. By that I mean it’s real. His name was Lancelot Hogben, and by most accounts he was a little odd even for a mad scientist. How odd, you may wonder? Odd enough to inject pee into a frog and then wait to see what happens. So what does this have to do with the aquarium? The frog was none other than our friend the “Three Clawed Frog” “Xenopus laevis.” The year was 1927, and the place was South Africa.

Lancelot Hogben

Hogben studied hormones by injecting them into frogs, and when he moved to South Africa in 1927, he continued those experiments with the local amphibians. This is where the “Three Clawed Frog” comes in. Have you figured out how the pee fits into this? I bet “urine” the right track. Sorry I could not help myself. The urine was not just any urine, but a woman’s. To be specific, it was a pregnant woman’s urine. Science had realized that women shed unique hormones in their urine while pregnant , and Hogben decided to inject the frog with the urine and see what happened. The frog reproduced. In fact every time he injected “Xenopus laevis” with the urine of a pregnant woman it spawned. When injected with a none pregnant woman’s urine the frog would not spawn.

The Three Clawed Frog

So what does that have to do with the aquarium? You see during the 1950’s and into the 60’s this process was the standard fertility test. This brought the”Three Clawed Frogs” into American laboratories, and stole the hearts of lab technicians which ultimately led to their introduction into the aquarium trade.

Past Blogs

Butterfly Fly Fish

Few of the world’s natural residents dare the imagination such as the African Butterfly Fish. But who brought them to the American Market? Read on and find out.

Betta Splendens

What year did the veil tail betta come to America? Who was it it that brought it to the states? This article will answer that.


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