Click link below for video

Click link below for video

You have to see this video from BBC showing tadpoles swarming their mom to feast on her infertile eggs. This rare glimpse is something you wouldn’t be able to see if it weren’t for the captive breeding programs of organizations to save endangered species. It’s all connected to the umbrella program of Amphibian Ark.

Excerpts from the story:

The remarkable footage was recorded at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, in Jersey, which took in 12 of the rescued frogs. Twenty-six others went to Parken Zoo in Sweden, and 12 are now housed in ZSL London Zoo.

“We thought that the eggs would come out and drop to the bottom of the nest and then the tadpoles would start eating them. But the footage shows about 40 tadpoles congregating around the female and eating the eggs as they come out of the female’s body.”

The effects of herbicide and fertilizer runoff on amphibians in rural areas has been reported before. We’re talking about frogs that develop extra limbs and other deformities. And of course, we’re talking about frogs dying. But a University of Pittsburgh study, funded by the National Science Foundation, shows that the active ingredient in popular pesticides like some Scotts Ortho products — it’s called malathion — is preventing tadpoles from maturing because it wreaks havoc with the food chain they need to grow. Here’s excerpt from Science Centric Web site which pulls its information from the Oct. 1 issue of Ecological Applications:

Gradual amounts of malathion that were too small to directly kill developing leopard frog tadpoles instead sparked a biological chain of events that deprived them of their primary food source. As a result, nearly half the tadpoles in the experiment did not reach maturity and would have died in nature.

“The chain of events caused by malathion deprived a large fraction of the leopard frog tadpoles of the nutrients they needed to metamorphose into adult frogs,’ said study author Rick Relyea, an associate professor of biological sciences in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences. “Repeated applications sustained that disruption of the tadpoles’ food supply. So, even concentrations that cannot directly kill tadpoles can indirectly kill them in large numbers.”

Here’s a thoughtful article on the issue from 2005: read here.

 

Add a ravenous little fish to the “gang” that is wiping out amphibian populations. The other members of the gang are chytrd fungus, habitat loss, pollution, and global warming. Read about the tadpole gulping mosquitofish in this story from San Mateo County Times. Excerpt:

The scrappy little mosquitofish, the pit bull of ichthyology and the region’s leading defense against West Nile virus, is a savior to insect-infested waters.

Unless you’re a frog.

Yes, the fish dines on larval mosquitoes, as intended. But scientists have learned it also has an appetite for the tadpoles of frogs, toads and other amphibians — including the threatened red-legged frog and the endangered Santa Cruz long-toed salamander.