Frog Extinctions As Indicators Of Environmental Problems

1953 words - 8 pages

Tiny or large, smelly or poisonous, there are many kinds of frogs and are excellent indicators of the quality of the overall environment. To this day, scientists continue to find new varieties of frogs never been discovered all over the world. Recently, tiny frogs [its scientific name is Eleutherodactylus Iberia, smaller than a U.S. dime, were discovered under old leaves in Cuba in 1996 (“The World’s Smallest Frog”). See-through glass frogs were discovered in the Upper Nangaritza Basin in southeastern Ecuador which had previously been known to live only in one area of northeastern Peru ("Ugly" Salamander Among New Species Found in Ecuador”). An individual may think finding new frogs is a good indication that there are many of them in existence, but frogs around the world are facing a mass extinction. In most cases when I look around some ponds and creeks, I find that something is missing: frogs. One of the species near extinction is the Monteverde harlequin frog mainly found in the Costa Rican Mountains (“Why the Frogs Are Dying”). The Southern Yellow-legged frog and the Sierra Nevada Yellow legged frog populations have declined by 95-98 % even in highly protected areas such as the Yosemite Park (University of California - Berkeley). The massive world-wide decline of frogs can best be understood by their inability to keep pace with the current rate of global changes.
Frogs refers to “any of various largely aquatic smooth-skinned tailless leaping amphibians” (Merriam-Webster). Most of these frogs are characterized by a short body, webbed digits [fingers and toes], protruding eyes, and they are extraordinary jumpers with long powerful legs. They are often semi-aquatic or inhabit humid areas because of their permeable skin [allowing oxygen to pass through]. Frogs move easily on land. They naturally lay eggs in puddles, ponds or lakes. Their larvae [tadpoles] have gills [to allow them to breathe in water] and develop in water. Many tadpoles are eaten by fish, birds or other frogs and they eat algae or tiny organisms in water. Large frogs eat insects, mice, bugs, and worms. In size, they range from 10mm [0.39in] such as the Eleutherodactylus Iberia of Cuba to 300mm [12in] such as the Conraua goliath of Cameroon (“Frog”). In the spring, male frogs and toads move to watery breeding sites and start calling to attract females and in some cases to warn other males to keep away from their territories (“Frogs”).
Frogs’ distribution ranges from the tropic to subarctic regions, but most are found in tropical rainforests except Antarctica. They are found in almost every habitation that provides access to water. The world consists of more than 5 200 species of frogs and some still are not yet found (Tyler, Wassersug, and Smith). Some of the countries with the most frog species include Brazil, Colombia, India, Cameroon, Madagascar, among others (“Frogs”). In the U.S. we have 90 frog and toad species. However, until recently, whether one lived in a city, a...

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