Students Ask and Experts Answer
How could I help my local frogs survive migration to spend the winter
safely, or to lay eggs in spring?
A. Start by checking where heavily traveled roads separate wintering
(deep lakes) and breeding habitats (ponds or marshes). If you notice a
lot of road-killed frogs, you have probably located a crossing. Tell your
local wildlife experts, who may wish to help the frogs make their migration.
Some places post frog crossing signs or build culverts. Some adults even
collect the frogs in buckets and carry them across the busy roads! Read
Q. Why do people care about protecting frogs?
A. Even species that are not endangered or threatened need to be protected
as their population is very important in the food chain.
Q. How are frogs beneficial?
A. Frogs (and toads) are beneficial to humans because they eat so
many insect pests. They are also important environmental indicators.
Q. What's a bio-indicator?
A. A living creature that is indicating or telling you something good
or bad about the area that it lives in. For example, having lots of frogs
in an area tells you and scientists that the environment is healthy and
complete for the frogs. If for some reason frogs are suddenly missing
from an area or their population is shrinking, then this is telling you
that the environment of the frogs is changing. Sometimes bio-indicators
can be used to show us that the quality of the air we breathe or water
we drink may not be of a high quality.
Why are frogs called good bio-indicators?
A. They spend part of their life cycle on land and some in water.
They have a permeable skin, which allows substances to move relatively
freely into their body and absorb and concentrate (make stronger) toxins
(poisonous substances) in their fatty tissues. This makes frogs susceptible
to chemical contamination on land or in water. Frogs as bio-indicators
can alert us to problems in our environment. Frogs are also good bio-indicators
because their populations are localized and impacts to the uplands and/or
wetlands where they live may have a significant effect on a frog population.
We can learn from the frogs and take action to correct environmental problems.
A world safer for frogs is a world safer for us all.
Q. Why are scientists concerned about frogs?
A. The number of frogs and toads around the world has been dropping.
These declines have been connected with many causes: habitat loss and
fragmentation, chemical pollution, increased ultraviolet radiation, acid
precipitation, commercial harvest of frogs for food, and unknown causes.
The decline in the number of frogs can be directly related to humans and
their increasing demands on the environment.
Q. What's all the fuss about deformed frogs
A. In August 1995 a large population of deformed Northern Leopard
Frogs was discovered by a group of students from a Minnesota school. The
discover became e a topic of national attention. Researchers from all
over continue to seek answers to the "mystery of the deformed leopard
frogs of LeSueur County." Some of the possible causes being investigated
are pesticides and chemicals in the watershed; heavy metals in the soil;
parasites; and genetic problems. The most important result of the students'
discovery was the environmental awareness raised by the deformed frogs.
Now everyone--not just scientists--knows about the decline in the world's