10/20/15

Frog color patterns and the lack of color on the ventral surface

Frogs are a component of an exclusive cluster of the animal realm that have a part in the subtle equilibrium of both the ecosystem and the food chain. Frogs can be seen more or less any place apart from Antarctica. The majority of frogs are found in tropical areas and more frogs are found in the hotter countries. There are approximately 4,740 species of frogs on the planet. They are in fact remarkable creatures that come in a huge range of sizes as well as colors.

Frogs generally eat insects such as flies, as well as, worms and small fish. In some cultures, frogs are believed to bring good luck. Noticeably, some frogs, such as the poison dart frog, have an adequate amount of toxin in their miniscule bodies to take the life of a human being. Some species of frogs are capable of changing their skin color, and a few of them have a similar skin color as their environment.

By liz west (leopard frog2) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By liz west (leopard frog2) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Without a doubt, frogs have several natural predators. Generally frogs are responsive to predators, which is why frogs put down a lot of eggs at a time. A few of the main predators of frogs are comprised of reptiles, like snakes and lizards. Some fish will eat frogs, and birds will also eat frogs. Frogs are always in danger of predators and unfortunately, humans also eat frogs. Luckily, frogs have developed many techniques for defending themselves from these predators.

The color patterns of frogs and their lack of color on the ventral surface, allow frogs to escape from predators. Usually, the underside of the frog is a lighter color than the top side for the reason that if the frog is hanging on top of the water and a predator is searching for a frog, the suns glare makes the frog difficult to spot. There are shady marks on the bottom and as a result it doesn’t expose the silhouette of the frog. Some of the frog’s upper side is darker since when swimming in the underneath of a dark pond, so it coordinates with the bottom.

By fa:User:Juybari (fa:File:Frog in Water.jpg) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

By fa:User:Juybari (fa:File:Frog in Water.jpg) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Frogs have a huge range of skin colors and patterns, which indeed help them from their natural predators. Colors can aid as a warning to predators that the frog may be toxic. Some frogs have the ability to change the color of their skin to adjust their heat soaking up rate, which assist them in managing their temperature. Just like other creatures, a frog’s skin and its color can be a sign of poison. Eating a blue frog can be deadly. So, the blue colored frogs offer a sign that they are not edible.

By Michael Gäbler (own work (eigenes Werk)) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Michael Gäbler (own work (eigenes Werk)) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Some studies have shown that the techniques for getting the better of a predator rely on the species of frog, but several of these resistances contain the utilization of color. It is found that some of the frogs have developed patterns on their backs that bamboozle or confuse aerial predators. The patterns cover up the shape of the frog; as a result, the predator doesn’t identify it as something safe to eat.

The largest parts of frogs are not dangerous, but there are some frogs that take advantage of poison as a self-protection tactic. Research reveals that some frogs have deadly poisons that could make a human harshly sick, or even kill someone. The toxic frogs such as the poison dart frog generally have brightly colored skin that stands as a caution. The toxic frogs have in fact very few predators. Frogs such as the barred leaf frog have light patterns on their legs and body. So, when the frog runs, these patterns will make the predator puzzled.

The animal kingdom makes use of a lot of tactics in order to save themselves from predators. Frogs are amazing and they use a lot of techniques to fool predators. Basically the upper surfaces of frogs are dark and go with their environment so that they are hidden from predators viewing them from above. The ventral surfaces of most of the frogs are normally a light color so that it will be disguised against the lighter sky while observed from underneath.

On land, a frog’s enemies will attack them from above and therefore, the color on its upper side serves as concealment. In water, the frog is susceptible to assault from below. For the most part, frog’s ventral surface is seldom uncovered to the sight of predators, so these surfaces don’t require camouflage. Frogs have a variety of patterns and colors that protects them from natural predators and harsh environments.

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Guest blog by Ligia Blake, who is a freelance blog writer and works for essayscouncil.com, a custom essay writing service with a passion of helping out students.

08/3/15

Will the Fungus Killing Salamanders Come to the US?

There is nothing more important right now to the survival of Salamanders than the United States stopping the importation of them from Europe and Asia.

From the New York Times article, “Importing Both Salamanders and Their Potential Destruction.”

“You would think there would be something in place,” said Vance T. Vredenburg, a biologist at San Francisco State University. “We really need a government agency at some level to take action and do something.”

…The pet trade brings huge numbers of salamanders into the United States. Fish and Wildlife Service records show that about 780,000 salamanders were imported from 2010 to 2014. Dr. Vredenburg and his colleagues found that 98 percent of the imported animals were native to Asia.

We have been watching Chytrid Fungus, or Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd for short) wipe out many species of frogs. Humans have helped spread this disease around the world and now we have an opportunity, if we act quickly to help the salamanders.

We’re worried about the Asian fungus that causes the disease “Bsal” which has already reached Europe, wiping out 96 percent of fire salamanders in the Netherlands. Now, researchers have determined that the fungus will spread like wildfire if it reaches North America, and they’re calling for an immediate ban on all salamander imports.

Fire Salamander from Wikipedia Commons

Fire Salamander from Wikipedia Commons.

Below are a series of articles on this topic from the past week:

NPR >> Scientists Urge Ban On Salamander Imports To U.S. To Keep Fungus At Bay

 

UC Berkeley >> Scientists urge ban on salamander imports to fend off new fungus

 

The Verge >> North America’s salamanders threatened by bloody skin disease

 

Tech Times >> Bsal Fungus Can Wipe Out U.S. Salamander Population: What To Know

06/4/15

DAYS OF MADAGASCAR 2015

GIORNATE DEL MADAGASCAR 2015 / DAYS OF MADAGASCAR 2015
The island of Marco Polo

June 12 and 13, 2015
Venice, Museum of Natural History

Isolated from Africa to many tens of millions of years, Madagascar has developed its own peculiar fauna and flora, dramatically different from that of other land masses, near and far.

Similarly colonization by man, which took place on a massive scale only for two thousand years, has seen the mix of elements Africans, Asians, Arabs and Europeans who have forged a culture of “metissage” composed of no less than 18 ethnic groups each with its particular history and traditions, have in common the basic language of Indonesian origin and the cult of the dead, called “famadihana”.

Unfortunately Madagascar is also a land of great contrasts, with widespread problems of social and economic. The days that pay special attention to aspects concerning the natural wealth and cultural diversity of this island, home to the intervention of researchers that deal with biodiversity and personnel working in health, showing how much Italy is engaged in this country.

In collaboration with the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali) of Turin and the Association “Malagasy Miray.”

Amphibian courtesy of Franco Andreone

Video below: Interview of Franco Andreone (herpetologist) at Andriamanero, Isalo National Park.

This video is in Italian: #madagascarexpedition2013: Betampona Rainforest
 


 

DOWNLOAD THE PRESENTATION OF THE INITIATIVE (.ppt 12.3 MB) >>>

PROGRAM

Friday, June 12, 2015 20.30 – Cinema Giorgione

Screening of the film in English “Island of lemurs in Madagascar” by David Douglas and Drew Fellman, with narrated by Morgan Freeman and with Patricia Wright

Introduction and presentation of: Franco Andreone (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin) Giuseppe Donati (Oxford Brookes University)

Entrance to the Cinema Giorgione free until all available seats

Saturday, June 13, 2015 – Natural History Museum

10.30 Welcome and opening of the day
Gabriella Belli (Director Civic Museums Foundation of Venice)
Paola Casagrande (Director of the Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin) Randrianantoandro Solofo Theophile (Minister Counsellor Embassy of Madagascar)

Franco Andreone (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin)
Madagascar: stories from a biodiverse land biodiverse

Giuseppe Donati (Oxford Brookes University)
Survive the next day: the lesson of lemurs

15:00

Riccardo Bononi (IRFOSS Padua)
Life, death and disease in the ancestor worship

Italian volunteers in Madagascar
Friends Amici di Jangany
The Italian volunteer in MadagascarVolontari Italiani in Madagascar

Olga del Madagascar
Culture, nature and music: songs taken from ‘album “Ma nature”

Tasting The with Malagasy vanilla

Hours 10:00 to 18:00 – Gallery of Cetaceans

Photo exhibition “Madagasikara” by Franco Andreone: throughout the day and until August 2, 2015 will be exhibited suggestive images dedicated to the nature, history and traditions of Madagascar.

Information points: voluntary associations will be on hand to talk about their experience in Madagascar

WORKSHOPS:
appointment until all available seats

Hours 10:30 to 12:00 and 15:30 to 17:00
Children aged 7 to 11 years

“The nature of the island”, edited by Coop. Silty
“Sounds and rhythms of Madagascar”, edited by Olga del Madagascar:

10:15, 11:30, 15:00, 16:15
For children 4 to 6 years accompanied by their parents

“The chameleon says narrates, animal stories and legends of Madagascar” by Barchetta Blu

INFORMATION AND RESERVATIONS:

The day is free entry until all the places available, except for laboratories that require an admission ticket to the museum (free for residents and people born in Venice, upon presentation of a photo ID).

To book workshops call 041 2750206

The photo exhibition will be open for free only on the occasion of this day and until August 2, 2015 is required to be in possession of a ticket to the museum.

 

Information shared by:

Franco Andreone
Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali
Via G. Giolitti, 36
I-10123 TORINO – ITALY
website www.francoandreone.it
Facebook www.facebook.com/franco.andreone
Twitter @francoandreone
Youtube Betampona
Youtube Isalo

02/27/15

Chytrid Fungus is Found in Madagascar

The entire amphibian class is currently afflicted by a global pandemic that is accelerating extinction at an alarming rate. Until now, a few islands like Madagascar were thought not to have been affected. However, an analysis of the latest series of tests shows that the chytrid fungus also poses a threat to amphibians in Madagascar. “This is sad news for herpetologists around the world,” says Dr. Dirk Schmeller of the UFZ, who was involved in analyzing the samples and has, together with Elodie Courtois, detected Bd in samples from Madagascar collected in 2010. “Firstly, it means that an island that is home to a particularly high number of amphibian species is now at risk. Several hundred species live only on this island. And, secondly, if the pathogen has managed to reach such a secluded island, it can and will occur everywhere.”

frog by Miguel Vences / TU Braunschweig

IMAGE: Chytrid fungus was proved on Platypelis pollicaris from Ranomafana. view more
Credit: Miguel Vences / TU Braunschweig

Prof. Miguel Vences from TU Braunschweig adds, “The chytrid fungus was found in all four families of the indigenous Madagascan frogs, which means it has the potential to infect diverse species. This is a shock!” The study also shows that the disease affects amphibians at medium to high altitudes, which ties in with observations from other parts of the world, where the effects of the amphibian epidemic have been felt primarily in the mountains.

“Luckily, there have not yet been any dramatic declines in amphibian populations in Madagascar,” Dirk Schmeller reports. “However, the pathogen appears to be more widespread in some places than others. Madagascar may have several strains of the pathogen, maybe even the global, hypervirulent strain. This shows how important it is to be able to isolate the pathogen and analyze it genetically, which is something we haven’t yet succeeded in doing.” At the same time, the researchers recommend continuing with the monitoring program across the entire country to observe the spread of the disease. The scientists also suggest setting up extra breeding stations for key species, in addition to the two centers already being built, to act as arks, so that enough amphibians could be bred to recolonize the habitats in a crisis. “We are also hopeful that we may be able to suppress the growth of the Bd pathogen with the help of skin bacteria,” says Miguel Vences. “It might then be possible to use these bacteria as a kind of probiotic skin ointment in the future.” A high diversity of microbial communities in the water could also reduce the potential for infection, according to earlier investigations conducted by Dirk S. Schmeller, Frank Pasmans, and their teams (published in Current Biology).

The outbreak of amphibian chytridiomycosis in Madagascar puts an additional seven per cent of the world’s amphibian species at risk, according to figures from the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA). “The decline in Madagascan amphibians is not just a concern for herpetologists and frog researchers,” says Dr. Franco Andreone, “It would be a great loss for the entire world.”
 
Guest post by Dr. Dirk Schmeller
Originally published:
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-02/hcfe-acf022615.php

02/8/15

Frogs and Water Quality

Yesterday, in class with the Cloud Institute and Sustainable Jersey (NJ Learns), each student got to briefly share their project, so I was describing the Frogs Are Green mission and projects on the agenda for 2015.

My teacher Jaimie P. Cloud, challenged me with this question. “Much of what Frogs Are Green is about is bringing awareness to the public, but is there a change I want in the public’s behavior?”

It made me think about one specific area that we can focus on which would help frogs and amphibians as well as other wildlife and humans, and that is water quality.

We know that there are many issues, such as, pollution and oil spills, pesticides and other toxins, pharmaceuticals, and these aren’t just affecting wildlife, but us as well. It’s humans that are creating many of these problems, so it’s obvious that we must be the ones to correct it.

testing water quality

I did a search on Google for Frogs and Water Quality and was surprised to learn there is currently no standard for water quality as it applies to frogs and amphibians:
“The factors thought to be contributing to declines in frog populations include habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, overexploitation, disease, climate change, and decreasing water quality. With respect to water quality, agroecosystems use 80-90% of the water resources in the western United States, frequently resulting in highly eutrophic conditions. Recent investigations suggest that these eutrophic conditions (elevated pH, water temperature, and un-ionized ammonia) may be associated with frog embryo mortality or malformations. However, water quality criteria for frogs and other amphibians do not currently exist. Here, we briefly review data that support the need to develop water quality parameters for frogs in agroecosystems and other habitats.”
(from this website: PMC1519110/http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1519110/)

What this tells me is that currently the water quality is tested to make sure it’s safe for humans, but there are no regulations in place for it to be safe for wildlife? Doesn’t it matter that it’s healthy for all life?

I’ll be reading much more on this issue and would like to invite you to share your thoughts or links to additional documentation you may have found.

Here’s a video I’d like to share because it shows just how important it is to educate the young with hands-on education from Marie Hartford, Science, 5th Grade Teacher and her students in Redmond, WA on the Teaching Channel about “Measuring the pH as it Relates to Water Quality.”

01/2/15

The Very Inspiring Green Blogger Award

I want to thank Lauri Fortino, children’s book author and library assistant, who writes a blog called Frog On A Blog for nominating Frogs Are Green for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Starting 2015 off right! Her book, The Peddler’s Bed is coming in the Fall!

The award rules:

  • Display the award on your blog
  • Link back to the person who nominated you
  • State 7 things about yourself
  • Nominate 15 bloggers, link to them, and notify them about their nominations

Seven facts you didn’t know about me:

  1. In high school, I was torn between music and art and finally decided my path would be art (I sing, but only around here).
  2. I’m allergic to chocolate. (Sad, I know!)
  3. I wish I could have more animals… dogs, fish, birds. (Maybe I should move to the country?)
  4. I read almost every night, clears the mind of other thoughts.
  5. I truly love helping people and so glad that I get to everyday.
  6. Movies are my favorite pastime, old or new, just tell me a great story.
  7. I collect children’s picture books and yes, FROG things!

My sixteen nominations for the Very Inspiring Green Blogger Award (check them out!)

Blogger awards are a great way to spread the word about blogs that you enjoy. We can all use a bit of help getting the word out. If I’ve nominated you and you’d rather not participate, that’s fine, but do consider giving a shout-out for some of the blogs you follow. Those bloggers will appreciate your support.