Posts Tagged ‘Frogs’

Large Areas Of Conservation Land Needed To Save Small Frogs, Turtles And Other Marine Species

June 12, 2008

Scientists were surprised with findings of a recent study that reveals many animal species believed to persist in small contained areas actually need broad, landscape level conservation to survive.

With more species at risk of extinction today than any other time in human history, the findings of the study published in the debut issue of Conservation Letters provides new insight into how to improve protection for many species worldwide. Scientists from organizations including Conservation International (CI) and BirdLife International identified appropriate scales of conservation efforts for 4,239 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians included on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

“The biggest surprise was the frogs,” said Claude Gascon, executive vice president for programs and science at CI, and co-chair of the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group. “Amphibians are small animals, and many have tiny ranges restricted to a single forest or a mountain stream. But astonishingly many species – like the Critically Endangered Lake Titicaca Giant Frog (Telmatobius culeus) from Peru – are greatly impacted by ecological processes at the landscape scale.”

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Scientists Announce Top 10 New Species In Last Year

May 28, 2008

The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and an international committee of taxonomists — scientists responsible for species exploration and classification — has just announced the top 10 new species described in 2007.

On the list are an ornate sleeper ray, with a name that sucks: Electrolux; a 75-million-year-old giant duck-billed dinosaur; a shocking pink millipede; a rare, off-the-shelf frog; one of the most venomous snakes in the world; a fruit bat; a mushroom; a jellyfish named after its victim; a life-imitates-art “Dim” rhinoceros beetle; and the “Michelin Man” plant.

The taxonomists are also issuing a SOS — State of Observed Species report card on human knowledge of Earth’s species. In it, they report that 16,969 species new to science were discovered and described in 2006. The SOS report was compiled by ASU’s International Institute for Species Exploration in partnership with the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, the International Plant Names Index, and Thompson Scientific, publisher of Zoological Record.

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Reproductive Plasticity Revealed: Neotropical Treefrog Can Choose To Lay Eggs In Water Or On Land

May 23, 2008

When frogs reproduce, like all vertebrates, they either lay their eggs in water or on land — with one exception, according to new research by a team of Boston University scientists who discovered a treefrog (Dendropsophus ebraccatus) in Panama that reproduces both ways. The neotropical frog makes a behavioral decision to lay egg masses aquatically in a pond or terrestrially on the overhanging plants above a pond, where the newly-hatched tadpoles simply fall into the water.

The dual reproductive capabilities enable this species of tree frogs to choose the best environment for egg development avoiding either aquatic predators or the hot tropical sunlight that dries out the eggs. In two shady forest ponds the mating frogs laid terrestrial egg masses, as expected from previous research. In a third pond in an old gravel quarry without a forest canopy, the vast majority — 76 percent — of the eggs were laid in water, supported by aquatic vegetation. The remaining 24 percent were on leaves above the pond, although the mortality rate of these eggs was high due to the heat and lack of shade.

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Ancient Amphibian: Debate Over Origin Of Frogs And Salamanders Settled With Discovery Of Missing Link

May 22, 2008

The description of an ancient amphibian that millions of years ago swam in quiet pools and caught mayflies on the surrounding land in Texas has set to rest one of the greatest current controversies in vertebrate evolution. The discovery was made by a research team led by scientists at the University of Calgary.

The examination and detailed description of the fossil, Gerobatrachus hottoni (meaning Hotton’s elder frog), proves the previously disputed fact that some modern amphibians, frogs and salamanders evolved from one ancient amphibian group called temnospondyls.

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Female Concave-eared Frogs Draw Mates With Ultrasonic Calls

May 19, 2008

Most female frogs don’t call; most lack or have only rudimentary vocal cords. A typical female selects a mate from a chorus of males and then –silently — signals her beau. But the female concave-eared torrent frog, Odorrana tormota, has a more direct method of declaring her interest: She emits a high-pitched chirp that to the human ear sounds like that of a bird.

his is one of several unusual frog-related findings reported recently in the journal Nature.

O. tormota lives in a noisy environment on the brushy edge of streams in the Huangshan Hot Springs, in central China, where waterfalls and rushing water provide a steady din. The frog has a recessed eardrum, said Albert Feng, a professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the University of Illinois and team leader on the new study.

“In the world we know of only two species — the other one in southeast Asia — that have the concave ear,” Feng said. “The others all have eardrums on the body surface.”

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Biological Weapons To Control Cane Toad Invasion In Australia

May 12, 2008

New research on cane toads in Northern Australia has discovered a way to control the cane toad invasion using parasites and toad communication signals.

Professor Rick Shine from the University of Sydney has been studying the biology of cane toads, and will reveal his new research May 7 at the Academy of Science’s peak annual event Science at the Shine Dome.

He says that controlling toads has been difficult as things that kill them will often kill frogs. Professor Shine and his team studied cane toads in Queensland that lagged behind the invasion front and found they were infected with a lungworm parasite which slows down adults and, in laboratory tests, kills around 30% of baby toads.

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Priority Regions For Threatened Frog And Toad Conservation In Latin America

May 12, 2008

Nearly 35% of all amphibians are now threatened of extinction raising them to the position of the most endangered group of animals in the world. Decline of amphibian populations and species is ongoing due to habitat loss, fungal disease, climate shift and agrochemical contaminants. These impacts are even worse to frogs that reproduce in water bodies such as streams and ponds.

Despite of that, no study ever proposed key broad-scale regions for conserving these species till now. Rafael D. Loyola and his colleagues propose now a priority set of areas for the conservation of frogs and toads in Latin America. The study, published in this week’s PLoS ONE, is unprecedented in terms of not only the proposition of key-conservation areas, but also because it shows that the inclusion of species biological traits, such as reproductive modes, affects the performance of area-prioritization analyses.

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Zoo Focuses Efforts on Poison Dart Frog Breeding Program

April 24, 2008

Enter an aquarium and an underwater zoo comes alive with fish of all shapes and sizes. But if you want more than just a fish-tank view, the National Aquarium in Baltimore is home to over 16,000 different varieties of animals, for a rare visitor experience.

“In one day you can really travel around the world and see a frog that’s only found in one little remote part,” the aquarium’s General Curator, Jack Cover, tells DBIS.

One of the most toxic animals in the world — the poison dart frog — lives here. Its bright colors warn predators to keep away, but herpetologists learned they aren’t very dangerous living inside the aquarium. In fact, Cover says dart frogs born and raised in captivity are completely non-toxic.

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Animals in Space: From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle

April 18, 2008

The animals that paved the way for Neil Armstrong and his cohorts have inspired a fresh take on the ubiquitous lost dog notice. Suzy Freeman-Greene revisits some walkies on the wild side.

One winter’s day, in December 1958, a fluffy squirrel monkey called Gordo was given a helmet and strapped onto a tiny rubber couch. Soon after, he was blasted into space in the nose of an American Jupiter missile. Gordo experienced nine minutes of weightlessness and is thought to have survived his capsule’s re-entry to earth. But the craft landed in the Atlantic Ocean and his body was never found.

Gordo was one of hundreds of animals sent into space from 1949 to 1990. In the name of science, monkeys, dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, rats, frogs, worms, fish, tortoises and even spiders have journeyed towards the stars. While plenty survived, many others died.

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Road Kill Losses Add Up, Taxing Amphibians And Other Animals

April 17, 2008

When frogs hit the road, many croak. Researchers found more than 65 animal species killed along a short stretch of roads in a Midwestern county. Nearly 95 percent of the total dead were frogs and other amphibians, suggesting that road-related death, or road-kill, possibly contributes to their worldwide decline, a trend that has concerned and puzzled scientists for decades.

The Purdue University study found that habitat along roadsides heavily influences road-kill. More than 75 percent of the carcasses originated alongside a one-mile stretch of road that traverses a wildlife-friendly wetland known as Celery Bog in West Lafayette, Ind.

“On hot summer nights when it rains, there are literally thousands of frogs out there,” said Andrew DeWoody, a Purdue researcher who led the study in Tippecanoe County, home to the university.

During the 17-month study, researchers found 10,500 dead animals along 11 miles of roads. Of those, 7,600 were frogs of unidentifiable species and another 1,700 were bullfrogs, said DeWoody, an associate professor of forestry and natural resources.

“In addition to indirect costs of habitat fragmentation, roads have direct costs in terms of animals’ lives,” he said.

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A typographic tribute to animals lost in space research

April 15, 2008

Orbit Oblique is a typographic tribute to ‘animals lost in space’. “During the period 1949-1990 the space race between the USA and Russia saw dozens of animals being launched into space in the name of scientific research. These unwilling participants included not just monkeys and dogs but also cats, rats, frogs, worms, spiders, fish and even fruit flies. Many were never seen again.”

The exhibition features a series of backlit typographic billboards, the first public release of the typeface Bisque (whose exclusive usage rights were auctioned on ebay) and the publication that accompanies the exhibition sounds terrific: a limited edition hard-bound type sampler with letterpress printed covers.

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One of Orbit Oblique's billboards

First Lungless Frog Discovered

April 11, 2008

Researchers have confirmed the first case of complete lunglessness in a frog, according to a report in the April 8th issue of Current Biology. The aquatic frog Barbourula kalimantanensis apparently gets all the oxygen it needs through its skin.

Previously known from only two specimens, two new populations of the aquatic frog were found by the team during a recent expedition to Indonesian Borneo.

“We knew that we would have to be very lucky just to find the frog,” said David Bickford of the National University of Singapore. “People have been trying for 30 years. But when we did and I was doing the initial dissections — right there in the field — I have to say that I was very skeptical at first [that they would in fact lack lungs]. It just did not seem possible. We were all shocked when it turned out to be true for all the specimens we had from Kalimantan, Indonesia.

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Photo: Translucent frog

April 9, 2008

‘Extinct’ frog species back from the dead

April 8, 2008

Scientists in Borneo have discovered a lungless frog that breathes through its skin – a species thought to have been extinct for 30 years.

A research team, led by National University of Singapore biologist David Bickford, discovered the frog, Barboroula kalimantanensis, in western Kalimantan in August and published its findings in Current Biology yesterday.

The tiny amphibian, which has an average length of less than 40mm and weighs about 6.5g, lives in cold, fast-flowing water and breathes through its skin.

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Note:  I couldn’t find a photo of Barboroula kalimantanensis. The picture above is just a cute frog. Let me know if you find a picture of Barboroula kalimantanensis!

Jungle frog’s anti-infection agent may help millions of diabetics

March 3, 2008

A nocturnal frog that dwells in the ponds and lagoons of the Amazon could prove to be an unlikely lifesaver for millions of people suffering from diabetes, researchers say.

The South American “paradoxical frog” (Pseudis paradoxa) owes its name to an uncanny ability to shrink as it grows older.

Scientists studying the properties of its slimy skin have found a substance that can stimulate the release of insulin, the vital hormone that is deficient in sufferers from diabetes.

Scientists have made an artificial copy of the peptide, a protein-building block that protects the frog from infection, and have suggested that it could be used to boost insulin production in people with Type 2 diabetes.

In laboratory tests, researchers found that the paradoxical frog’s peptide, known as pseudin-2, increased release of insulin in cultured cells by 50 per cent. However, more work must be carried out before the therapy is ready to be tested on human patients.

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Springing real animals into children’s lives

February 20, 2008

Kids love to see frogs and toads jump at Lakeside Nature Center. But it’s the leap made by the visiting kids that’s more impressive, says Susan Bray, a senior naturalist at the center. In her own words:

•“I’m really a firm believer — and this is what keeps me coming here and doing what I do — that kids really need a connection with nature. It’s called ‘nature deficit disorder’ now. Kids are getting so separated from the natural world.”•“I can’t tell you how many times — with the frogs, with an owl, with a snake — I pull the animal out to show kids and the first question is, ‘Is it real?’ Honestly, it’s scary.”
•“Kids, whether they’re wealthy or not, have their concept of the natural world pinned to things like Disney World or going to see a movie that has animation that is so real they don’t know the difference between real and animated.”
•“Many times I say, ‘Yeah, there’s not a single battery in this animal,’ and I get a lot of chuckles from the parents. But to the kids, this is a real thing they don’t get.”
•“For them to see a live frog actually move, and it’s not something controlled by battery or remote control, is pretty amazing. And, to me, that’s the opening to have a kid understand that there’s a whole bigger world out there that isn’t controlled by people.”
•“That’s what I believe is the importance of my work here on Earth. It’s helping make that connection.”

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A Frog Species Waves Goodbye

February 5, 2008

There’s no way that a Panamanian golden frog filmed by the BBC in 2006 could have known that the footage would amount to a good-bye message to the world.

But somehow, in some sentimental, unscientific and very true way, it seems like the frog — technically, a toad — understood what was happening. He raises his right foreleg and … waves. The show’s producer called the gesture unusual; such waves have been observed before, but usually the frogs prefer to croak. Shortly after the filming, the last remaining Panamanian golden frogs were captured in a last-ditch attempt to save the species from a fungal disease that has devastated frog populations worldwide, sending more than a hundred into extinction.

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New Frog Species Found in Kerala

January 20, 2008


A new species of shrub frog from the Western Ghats adds its name to the growing list of frogs discovered recently. The latest is a tiny oriental shrub frog, named Philautus ochlandrae, discovered in the evergreen forests of the Kakkayam Reserve Forest in Kerala.

The squat little amphibian does not grow beyond 2.5 cm, has a short rounded snout and protruding eyes with striking golden yellow markings. With this, the number of frog species discovered in the last seven years in India stands at 25.The discovery was published in the international journal Zootaxa in October 2007.

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Captivity is last chance for chicken frog

January 2, 2008


A frog that is reputed to sound and taste like chicken and is treated as a Caribbean delicacy has been rescued from the wild in an effort to save it from extinction.

Mountain chicken frogs are one of hundreds of amphibian species world-wide to be driven to the edge of extinction by a virulent fungus. Five years ago they were so numerous on the island of Dominica that they were eaten as a delicacy, but numbers have dropped since the amphibian chytrid fungus reached the Caribbean.

Conservationists from the Zoological Society of London began a rescue expedition last year but were able to track down only seven of the frogs, which are now kept in permanent quarantine at London Zoo.

The mountain chicken frogs at the zoo, where it is hoped that they will breed, are one of only two groups from the island of Dominica that have been taken into captivity. The other population of 12 frogs is held by a private collector in the United States.

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