Double whammy decimates frogs

Poor frogs – while not everyone would say they are cute, they are certainly sensitive little creatures; in fact, the presence of frogs in a waterway is a sign that the waterway is relatively healthy.

Frogs are one of the first creatures to disappear if something is amiss in their environment. Their departure impacts heavily on other animals within the local ecosystem that depend on them for food and they are valuable in keeping some pests at bay.

Last year I wrote about a mysterious fungus affecting frogs and earlier this year published an item on amphibians, including frogs, facing mass extinction on a global scale.

According to a recent study, it appears that a cocktail of chemicals are contributing to the demise of frogs in the USA.

A common pesticide has been identified in assisting the growth of flatworms parasites that weaken the frogs immune system. It doesn’t end there. The impact of the chemical, called atrazine, is boosted by phosphate fertilizers, very common in US waterways and present as runoff from farms.

The researchers found that where atrizine was present, it accounted for more than 50 percent of the likelihood that the frogs would experience ill effects. When phosphate fertilizer was thrown into the mix, the rate of diseased frogs went up to 75 percent.

While atrazine was banned in the European Union a few years back, it’s one of the most extensively used farm chemicals in the United States today.

Now that they know the problem, perhaps it can be finally fixed at a government level. A great little job for the new President perhaps?


Caring for our waterways.