San Diego Zoo hosted a conference of scientists to review new, stringent standards for making sure amphibians don’t have the frog killer chytrid fungus as they come to zoos for “protective custody” against the many forces that are wiping them out in the wild. Story here.

During the home stretch of the U.S. presidential election, the candidates’ records are being scrutinized for all matters regarding earmark pandering, bill authoring, demeanor to librarians — you name it, it’s being examined. But what about the amphibian connection? I have an inside source, whom I’ll name Deep Croak, who wants to shed light on some interesting amphibian connections to the candidates in their home states:

Barack Obama: He’s the candidate who vows to find common ground in a partisan beltway. Perhaps aptly, Illinois is home to an endangered salamander species named the hellbender.

John McCain – Arizona, his home state, is famous for the barking frog. This frog is quite direct. Barking frogs hatch directly from eggs; there is no stage involving larval development in the water.

Joe Biden — Though not unique to Deleware, the American bullfrog found in Sen. Biden’s state is wreaking havoc with its aggressive behavior in Europe, including France.

Sarah Palin — Alaska is home to the wood frog, the only amphibian species that freezes solid in the winter and miraculously hops back to life. Is there a metaphor there for the McCain campaign? (Sorry, there is no pit bullfrog that wears lipstick.)

Here’s a frog species that’s thriving, but unfortunately so much so that it’s threatening other amphibian species. As the story mentions, “It’s a frog eat frog world.” Click below for the story out of Canada — that the American bullfrog is one of the world’s 100 most invasive species. Parental warning: the story is a little gruesome:

Culling Kermit, One Zap at a Time (story)

Today’s New York Times story about the 24/7 work life of many bloggers (and sadly that it may be damaging their health), with quotes from Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, made made wonder, is there an amphibian species that, like some bloggers, almost never sleeps?  Turns out that the answer is the #44 Snapple fact inside Snapple bottle lids: “The bullfrog is the only animal that never sleeps.” That’s as in N-E-V-E-R. Here’s an explanation from Rod Douglas.

This brings up that lyric, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog,” from the Hoyt Axton song, “Joy to the World,” recorded and made famous by Three Dog Night. Wikipedia says that Axton intended the line to be nonsensical. Now, does the fact that bullfrogs never sleep mean that Jeremiah was an all night partyer? Axton apparently would have said no, but maybe deep down in his subconscious, he was thinking like a herpetologist.

Kudos to Vancouver Aquarium for this beautiful, amazing video.  Great to see how zoos and aquariums are backing The Year of The Frog and Amphibian Ark.

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