June 25, 2002
A plague of frogs

Mac recently had some fun with this article about giant bullfrogs which are terrorizing Germany. Mac notes that these are introduced species. As funny as a plague of frogs in Germany is, it's unfortunately the case that bullfrogs are causing havoc in other places, such as in the Vancouver area. The Vancouver Aquarium has a whole exhibit on frogs, including the invading bullfrogs. The problem there is that in addition to competing for the same habitat, bullfrogs can and do eat other frogs, a factor which is threatening the survival of several native species.

Frogs are apparently somewhat of a canary in the environmental coal mine. This is because their skin offers little protection against toxins, which makes them sensitive to changes in their surroundings. A recent rash of deformed frogs has led some people to wonder if it's an indication of rising levels of chemicals in ground water. Whatever you may think of that, it's hard to look at some of the deformed frogs and not worry about it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 25, 2002 to Technology, science, and math