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14 Maret 2015

Katak Baru dari Sulawesi Mengejutkan Dunia karena Bisa Melahirkan

Jimmy McGuire Limnonectes larvaepartus

KOMPAS.com — Katak jenis baru dari Sulawesi mengejutkan dunia. Bila biasanya katak berkembang biak dengan cara bertelur, katak ini berkembang biak dengan melahirkan.

Katak itu ditemukan oleh ahli herpetologi dari Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), Djoko Tjahjono Iskandar, serta rekannya, Ben J Evans, dari McMaster University di Kanada, dan Jimmy A McGuire dari Universityy of California, Berkeley.

Karena mampu melahirkan kecebong, katak baru ini dimasukkan dalam golongan hewan yang berkembang biak secara ovovivipar.

Ovovivipar berbeda dengan ovipar (bertelur) dan vivipar (melahirkan). Ovovivipar berarti embrio tetap berkembang di telur yang berada di dalam tubuh induk, tetapi keluar dari tubuh induk dalam kondisi sudah menetas.

Spesies katak baru ini dinamai Limnonectes larvaepartus, sesuai dengan sifatnya, mampu melahirkan larva (larvae: larva atau kecebong, partus: melahirkan).

Dalam publikasinya di jurnal PLOS ONE pada Rabu (31/12/2014) lalu, Djoko menyatakan bahwa jenis ini sudah dijumpai sejak dia melakukan survei keragaman katak di Sulawesi pada tahun 1996 lalu.

Namun, identitas katak ini sebagai spesies baru belum bisa ditetapkan sebab belum ada bukti perilaku melahirkan.

Perilaku melahirkan kemudian berhasil dilihat saat Djoko dan tim melakukan studi lapangan di Sulawesi tahun ini. Satu kali kesempatan, Djoko menyaksikan langsung katak melahirkan di genggaman tangan.

Dalam kesempatan lain, Djoko dan tim menjumpai adanya kecebong hidup dalam bagian sistem reproduksi bernama oviduk serta dalam tas plastik tempat tim mengoleksi katak.



Hingga kini, perilaku melahirkan ini masih misteri. Bagaimana bisa katak yang biasanya melakukan pembuahan eksternal (tidak ada penyatuan antara sel sperma dan sel telur dalam tubuh) bisa melahirkan?

Limnonectes larvaepartus disebut sebagai satu-satunya jenis katak yang mampu melahirkan kecebong dan satu dari 12 jenis katak yang mengalami evolusi fertilisasi internal.

Sebelumnya, terdapat katak Rheobatrachus yang dikenal "mengerami" telurnya di dalam lambung untuk kemudian memuntahkannya dalam bentuk kecebong. Namun, golongan katak itu sudah punah pada tahun 1980-an.

Sementara itu, di Afrika terdapat genus katak Nectophrynoides dan Nimbaphrynoides yang juga bisa melahirkan. Namun, keduanya melahirkan berudu (katak muda), bukan kecebong.

Limnonectes larvaepartus, ditemukan di wilayah Sulawesi Tengah, dinyatakan sebagai spesies endemik. Penyebarannya belum diketahui secara pasti sebab survei keragaman dan populasi katak di pulau itu hingga kini masih minim.

Katak itu biasanya hidup dalam rentang jarak 2-10 meter dari perairan. Secara fisik, katak unik karena memiliki tonjolan serupa taring dan warna emas di area punggung.

Sulawesi dipercaya merupakan rumah bagi sekitar 25 jenis katak bertaring. Di tengah eksploitasi hutan di Sulawesi, katak endemik ini perlu dilindungi. Kepunahan jenis ini dan jenis lain yang belum ditemukan mengancam bila perusakan lingkungan terus dilakukan.

Jimmy McGuire Kecebong katak Limnonectes larvaepartus, berukuran sekitar 1,5 cm.



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