Xenopus: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Xenopus laevis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Pipidae
Subfamily: Xenopodinae
Genus: Xenopus
Wagler, 1827

Xenopus amieti (Volcano Clawed Frog)
Xenopus andrei (Andre's Clawed Frog)
Xenopus borealis (Marsabit Clawed Frog)
Xenopus boumbaensis (Mawa Clawed Frog)
Xenopus clivii (Eritrea Clawed Frog)
Xenopus fraseri (Fraser's Platanna)
Xenopus gilli (Cape Platanna)
Xenopus itombwensis (Itombwe Massif Clawed Frog)
Xenopus laevis (Common Platanna)
Xenopus largeni (Largen's Clawed Frog)
Xenopus longipes (Lake Oku Clawed Frog)
Xenopus muelleri (Muller's Platanna)
Xenopus petersii (Peters' Platanna)
Xenopus pygmaeus (Bouchia Clawed Frog)
Xenopus ruwenzoriensis (Uganda Clawed Frog)
Xenopus tropicalis (Western clawed frog)
Xenopus vestitus (Kivu Clawed Frog)
Xenopus victorianus (Lake Victoria Clawed Frog)
Xenopus wittei (De Witte's Clawed Frog)

Xenopus (L., strange foot) is a genus of highly aquatic frogs native to Sub-Saharan Africa. There are 18 species in the Xenopus genus. They are known collectively as African Clawed Frogs or Platanna.[1] The best-known species belonging to this genus is Xenopus laevis, which is commonly studied as a model organism.


Key Characteristics


All species of Xenopus have flattened, somewhat egg-shaped and streamlined bodies, as well as very slippery skin (because of a protective mucous covering[2]). The frog's skin is smooth albeit with a lateral line sensory organ that have a stitch-like appearance. The frogs are all excellent swimmers and have powerful, fully-webbed toes though the fingers lack webbing. Three of the toes on each foot have conspicuous black claws.

The frog's eyes are positioned on top of the head, looking upwards. The pupils are circular. They have no moveable eyelids, tongues (rather it is completely attached to the floor of the mouth[2]) or eardrums (similarly to the Surinam toad[3]).[4]

Internally, they are somewhat unique in that, unlike most amphibians, they have no haptoglobin in their blood.[4]


Xenopus species are entirely aquatic, though they have been witnessed to migrate on land to nearby bodies of water during times of drought. The are usually found in lakes, rivers, swamps and man-made reservoirs.[4]

Adult frogs are usually both predators and scavengers and since their tongue is unusable, the frogs use their small forelimbs to aid in the feeding process. Since they also lack a vocal sac, they make clicking sounds underwater (again similarly to the Surinam toad).[3] The Xenopus species are also active during the twilight hours (or crepuscular).[4]

During breeding season, the males have ridge-like nuptial pads (black in color) on the fingers to aid in grasping the female. The mating embrace the frogs use is inguinal, which means that the male grasps the female around her waist.[4]

Like many other anurans, they are often used in laboratory as research subjects (see section below).[2] In the Hebrew language the genus name literally means "Medical frog".[5]

Xenopus research models

Xenopus are a popular model system for gene and protein expression and knockdown studies. At 1 mm diameter, Xenopus oocytes are very large cells which are easy for scientists to culture and use in experiments. RNA from other organisms can be injected into the large oocytes and the resulting expression studied via molecular biology techniques or through electrophysiology experimentation. Gene expression can be knocked down or splicing modified using Morpholino antisense oligos injected into Xenopus oocytes (for whole-body effects) or early embryos (for effects in the daughter cells descended from the injected cell). Cytoplasmic extracts made by centrifuging Xenopus eggs or embryos (allowing direct addition or depletion of proteins) can recapitulate a wide range of complex cellular processes including nuclear envelope formation, DNA replication and spindle assembly.

While Xenopus laevis is the most commonly used species for developmental biology studies, genetic studies can be complicated by their pseudotetraploid genome. Xenopus tropicalis provides a simpler model for genetic studies, having a diploid genome. Morpholino knockdown techniques are also used in X. tropicalis to probe the function of a protein by observing the results of eliminating the protein's activity, as was done in a screen [1] [2] of X. tropicalis genes published in 2006.

X. laevis is often used as a low-tech pregnancy test; for details, see the species account.


  1. ^ African Clawed Frog Wiki
  2. ^ a b c "IACUC Learning Module - Xenopus laevis". University of Arizona. http://www.iacuc.arizona.edu/training/xenopus/intro.html. Retrieved 2009-10-11.  
  3. ^ a b Roots, Clive. Nocturnal animals. Greenwood Press. pp. 19. ISBN 031333546X.  
  4. ^ a b c d e Passmore, N. I. & Carruthers, V. C. (1979). South African Frogs, p.42-43. Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg. ISBN 0854945253.
  5. ^ "Xenopus" (in Hebrew). Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. http://jerusalemzoo.org.il/aecommerce/c1871/17707.php. Retrieved 2009-10-12.  

External links

  • Xenbase ~ A Xenopus laevis and tropicalis Web Resource


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. (zoology) a taxonomic genus, within subfamily Xenopodinae - the clawed frogs
Wikispecies has information on:


See also

  • See Wikipedia for species


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Xenopus laevis


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Amphibia
Subclassis: Lissamphibia
Ordo: Anura
Subordo: Mesobatrachia
Familia: Pipidae
Genus: Xenopus
Species: X. amieti - X. andrei - X. borealis - X. boumbaensis - X. clivii - X. fraseri - X. gilli - X. itombwensis - X. laevis - X. largeni - X. longipes - X. muelleri - X. petersii - X. pygmaeus - X. ruwenzoriensis - X. tropicalis - X. vestitus - X. victorianus - X. wittei


Xenopus Wagler, 1827

Type species: Xenopus boiei Wagler, 1827 (= Bufo laevis Daudin, 1802)



  • Dubois, A.; Ohler, A. 2009: The status of the amphibian nomina created by Merrem (1820) and Ritgen (1828). Zootaxa, 2247: 1-36. Abstract & excerpt
  • Wagler, 1827, Isis von Oken, 20: 726.
  • Amphibian Species of the World 5.1 Xenopus access date 25 June 2008

Vernacular names

English: Common Clawed Frogs


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address