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Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Shoreline Purslane and Suriname Toad 1702-03

RCIN 921217

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One of the strangest toads in the world, the Surinam toad has a flat body. The female carries her fertilised eggs on her back; her skin grows over each egg to protect it as it becomes first a tadpole and then a tiny toad. When the young toad is sufficiently large, it breaks through the skin and swims away. Merian was the first European naturalist to describe this phenomenon.