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Exploding frogs

  1. Apr 28, 2005 #1
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2005 #2

    JamesU

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    They found out that America is better.... :rofl:
     
  4. Apr 28, 2005 #3

    cepheid

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    At which point they decided to commit suicide? :tongue2: :tongue:
     
  5. Apr 28, 2005 #4

    Evo

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    Staff: Mentor

  6. Apr 29, 2005 #5

    JamesU

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    They weren't allowed to leave the country...
     
  7. Apr 29, 2005 #6

    Danger

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    Jeez... you had me all worried until I read the link, but they're only toads. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Apr 29, 2005 #7

    SOS2008

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    There are problems with amphibians all around the world. I posted a thread on Dust-born agents, which is now in the biology section. I was wondering if research on topics such as this is being coordinated in any way. And whether this is linked to other problems that may be early signs of global warming.
     
  9. Apr 29, 2005 #8

    Moonbear

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    How bizarre! Even stranger, they are reporting that it seems to happen at a specific time of day (2-3 AM). Whatever it is, it must be causing some massive and rapid buildup of either body fluids or gases to explode them with such force. With that precise of a timing, they should look at things like food sources that vary over the day (such as a fly that only swarms in the morning, or something that fluctuates with water currents during the day).

    And I thought it was bad back in my high school biology class when we had two live frogs for a demo and the big one ate the little one and split at the side (talk about eyes that are bigger than your stomach!)

    Poor frogs. :frown:
     
  10. Apr 29, 2005 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    The claim that this is spreading is bothersome.
     
  11. Apr 29, 2005 #10

    JamesU

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    I think we should first answer the question, "is the cause within the frog or its environment?"
     
  12. Apr 29, 2005 #11

    SOS2008

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    Eeeeoooo!

    The BBC article says:
    The topic is of interest to me because they are finding a similar problem with amphibians here in Arizona that is related to a virus in the soil/water. In the posted thread I mention the coral reef (sea fans) that have been dying because of fungus in the dust blown from Africa. The drought in Africa is the cause of the dust, which blows across the Atlantic. In Trinidad, where the coral reefs are dying, they are also linking the dust to a sudden and unusual increase in cases of asthma in children.
     
  13. Apr 29, 2005 #12

    JamesU

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    There's no problem with amphibians here in arizona :confused:
     
  14. Apr 29, 2005 #13

    SOS2008

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    Arizona State University is researching this problem in areas of the Mogillion Rim. It is a virus in the environment, and if I understand correctly, it is easily absorbed into the skin of the frogs.
     
  15. Apr 29, 2005 #14

    Moonbear

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    I've just been searching for more references (unfortunately, most sites are citing the same AP story, so there isn't much new to gather...a bit of a different story off the UK sites). They're testing the water and the frog bodies and not coming up with any viruses or bacteria. They're suggesting a fungus, but that's not making a lot of sense to me with the timing issue (I've come across several sites now that cite that this is restricted to the nighttime). You'd think a fungus would be consistently present and this would be happening all day long, not just the middle of the night. It must be something they are only exposed to during a short time of the day. The trouble is, is it an acute reaction within a few minutes to hours of exposure (something they get into when they come out of the water at night), or is it something that takes longer to reach this stage of reaction (something they are exposed to early in the morning or in the days previously)? They should be collecting frogs and examining stomach contents. If it's not in the water, and if they are reporting spread to other ponds, it may be carried by birds or insect-borne.

    One story reported crows pecking at frogs, and that the numbers of crows have decreased since the frogs started exploding (as if the exploding frogs are somehow a defensive mechanism against crows) but that explanation doesn't make a lot of sense to me since the frogs aren't swelling when the crows would be active. But, what if the crows are less of a problem not because they've been frightened off by exploding frogs, but because they too are being affected by the disease, but in a less dramatic way? Or maybe they are just carriers and have migrated on to another pond?

    I'd also want to know if they are swelling with gases or fluids. If it's fluids, I'm wondering if it's a weird frog allergy...I'm thinking of things like circadian timing of histamine production possibly coinciding with the time of frog explosions. Or maybe they aren't detecting bacterial contaminants because it's an overgrowth of bacteria normally present in their bodies triggered by something odd in the environment?
     
  16. Apr 29, 2005 #15

    Moonbear

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    This is being reported as initially isolated to a single pond now with spread to a second pond. If toads were exploding all over the world, we'd be hearing about it already. I'm also wondering if this is a species-specific problem? Are any and all frogs/toads in the same pond afflicted with this problem, or is it just one species being affected? Darn, so many questions and so few answers! :grumpy:
     
  17. Apr 29, 2005 #16

    SOS2008

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    The research being conducted at ASU regarding the decreasing number of amphibian species is due to Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis, which I believe is a virus. The frogs are not exploding in this case. But as aired on PBS, amphibians are disappearing in many parts of the world, and as Ivan says, this is what is of concern.
     
  18. Apr 29, 2005 #17

    Danger

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    Aw nuts, it looks like this is going to stay serious. Okay... as for the fluid vs gas question, the violence of the bursting would suggest gas to me. Since fluids are incompressible, they would more likely cause a splitting effect like that overfed one you mentioned. Gaseous overpressure would be more like a balloon popping.
    Could the timing maybe have something to do with a photoactive chemical or organism that starts doing something when the sun goes down?

    edit: That last bit wouldn't apply to something ingested, because it would be in the dark as soon as it was eaten.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2005
  19. Apr 29, 2005 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    Frogs are considered a kind of first alert environmental warning system. Apparently they are extremely sensitive to changes in the environment.
     
  20. Apr 29, 2005 #19

    Danger

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    Moonbear, please clarify something for me regarding the above quote. These are toads that they're referring to, not frogs. Don't toads only go into water for breeding? Ours here, at least, are garden-dwellers. :confused:
     
  21. Apr 29, 2005 #20

    Moonbear

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    Most sources are referring to them as toads, so they probably are land dwellers, but one (or more) of the articles I read mentioned the toads were exploding at night when they came out of the water, so I don't know if they are toads that hang out close to the water, or if they are in the middle of their breeding season. Oh, geez, you know, if they're supposed to be breeding now and are exploding instead, this could really decimate their population pretty quickly! Want to watch natural selection in action? Toads that don't explode get to pass their genes onto the next generation. :eek:

    Toads are the dry, bumpy things and frogs are the moist, smooth-skinned things. We'll have to wait for DocToxyn to show up in the morning to get more info on frogs vs toads (he's the one who's into ectotherms, so he might know more about distinguishing features and whether toads are always land-dwelling or if some species would be in ponds outside of a breeding season).

    Edit: As if exploding toads wasn't gross enough, while looking for more info, I came across a website showing the surgical extraction of a bot fly larva from the eyelid of a human. Apparently in South America there are bot flies that infect humans. :yuck: Lots of other pictures there of bot fly infested people and animals. :yuck: :yuck: :yuck:
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2005
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