Are frogs on the verge of dying out?

Thanks to Jon for pointing out the Mail’s article on this new frog disease research.

The opening line of the Mail article is ‘Common frog populations have seen numbers tumble by more than 80 per cent in the face of a virus spreading through the UK, scientists warned today.’

The study doesn’t actually says this: what it’s actually reporting is evidence of  ‘long-term localized population declines’. I don’t think the researchers really intended to imply that frogs everywhere fell by 80% – which is more or less the way the news comes across.

You can read more at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1318548/Frog-numbers-plummet-80-virus-decimates-adult-population.html#ixzz12522A1tC

Oh…now I see it on the Independent site toohttp://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/new-virus-causing-mass-deaths-of-frogs-2100849.htmlmuch the same headline. Frogs dying everywhere.

And the original article summary is here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2010.00373.x/abstract. As usual to read it in full you need access to a university library.

I’ve got a copy of the original paper now – so will report back.

But I think again this shows that we should do all we can to support the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme, which could do with more funds. Hmmm: somehow I’m not optimistic this will happen at the moment.

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4 Responses to “Are frogs on the verge of dying out?”

  1. Chris Monk Says:

    I noticed that at least the Mail website illustrated this article on ranavirus affecting frogs with a picture of a frog – the Independent used a picture of a toad. Its a study into what has been called red-leg in some news reports and has been around for quite some time, especially in the SE of England as the paper reports, and the subject of the Frog Mortality Project run by Froglife for a number of years.
    Andrew Cunningham & Trent Garner at the Institute of Zoology were the people behind the sampling for the chytrid survey of amphibians across England and organised by natural England with help from volunteers from ARG groups. Fungal chytrid infections are likely to be a more serious killer of amphibians (including toads and newts) and have now been found at many more locations across the UK than the original 4 identified.

  2. jonspond Says:

    Hi Chris

    The picture used in the Mail was not the common frog as labelled – possibly a European Species or maybe a North American species perhaps.

    I can say that the North American Bullfrog Population found in 2006 in Essex did not have chytrid – well it was reported that no tests revealed it so far…..

    J

  3. jonspond Says:

    Here some more information on Common frog from the BTO –
    Garden wildlife survey results
    http://www.bto.org/gbw/herps/species%20accounts/commonfrog.htm

  4. jonspond Says:

    80% of gardens had frogs!

    Compared to the 60% of the NARRS ponds – does this mean that garden ponds are more important? or are they mimicking a habitat which has long since been lost – temporary shallow pools?

    Warm shallow weedy pools are excellent for frogs – so the garden ponds are an alternative perhaps?

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