January 2012

Mossy Frog

This Creature Got Creative with Camo

Before you look down and inspect that mossy rock, you might want to think twice. It may be alive. Actually, you probably won’t run into the Mossy Frog as it’s native to Vietnam. As with many other amphibian species, it’s also endangered.

This fairly small frog is partially aquatic and a tree-dweller. A member of the Rhacophoridae family, it falls into a group also known as “bush” frogs. Some of them fly. But our featured Mossy frog is just that: its skin is a bumpy, lumpy mass of black and green that provides the perfect camouflage from predators.

Hula Painted Frog - Back from Beyond Extinction

First Frog Sighting Since the 1950s

Just this past November, a sighting of the Hula Painted Frog made big news. With good reason to believe this species had become extinct, the lone female literally jumped into view. Also known as Israel Painted Frogs, this species once thrived in and around the marshes of Lake Hula.

The story behind the Hula frog sighting is a fascinating one that involves decades of events, both good and bad. By the mid-1950s, malaria was an issue that Israeli officials hoped to resolve by draining the lake. In the process, however, the ecosystem took a real hit and the imbalance led to many species heading toward the brink of extinction. While it may have seemed to be a wise move for officials, conservationists knew otherwise: it was the frogs in the area that consumed malaria-bearing mosquitoes.

Coqui Frogs Causing Trouble

In Hawaii, These Small Amphibians are Receiving Big Complaints

Coqui frogs are actually a group of species native to Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands. They're in no danger of extinction and over time have adapted to other areas including southern U.S. regions and South America. Its name means "little frog," but it's getting big attention as an invader in Hawaii, namely on Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island.

Frog Dissection Goes Digital

Some Schools are Saying Goodbye to Formaldehyde

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Those who had the honor of dissecting a frog in science class probably remember the aroma of formaldehyde (like, forever). In earlier days, we never questioned the act. We just took a dive with the scalpel without concerns for animal rights. Of course, there were always a few kids who got squeamish over the whole ordeal - and they just opened themselves up to ridicule.