Tag Archives: Amphibians

A new toad from the ”warm valleys” of Peruvian Andes

A new species of toad was discovered hiding in the leaf litter of the Peruvian Yungas. The word is used widely by the locals to describe ecoregion of montane rainforests, and translates as “warm valley” in English. The new species Rhinella yunga was baptized after its habitat preference. The study was published in the open […]

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Early-life exposure of frogs to herbicide increases mortality from fungal disease

The combination of the herbicide atrazine and a fungal disease is particularly deadly to frogs, shows new research from a University of South Florida laboratory, which has been investigating the global demise of amphibian populations. USF Biologist Jason Rohr said the new findings show that early-life exposure to atrazine increases frog mortality but only when […]

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Frogs that hear with their mouth: X-rays reveal a new hearing mechanism for animals without an ear

Gardiner’s frogs from the Seychelles islands, one of the smallest frogs in the world, do not possess a middle ear with an eardrum yet can croak themselves, and hear other frogs. An international team of scientists using X-rays has now solved this mystery and established that these frogs are using their mouth cavity and tissue […]

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Salamanders under threat from deadly skin-eating fungus

A new species of fungus that eats amphibians’ skin has ravaged the fire salamander population in the Netherlands, bringing it close to regional extinction. Fire salamanders, recognisable by their distinctive yellow and black skin patterns, have been found dead in the country’s forests since 2010. The population has fallen to around 10 individuals, less than […]

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How ‘teamwork’ between egg and sperm works: Little-known protein identified in vertebrate fertilization process

Researchers from Heidelberg have decoded a previously unknown molecular mechanism in the fertilisation process of vertebrates. The team of scientists at the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University identified a specific protein in frog egg extracts that the male basal bodies need, but that is produced only by the reproductive cells of the female. […]

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Bullfrogs may help spread deadly amphibian fungus, but also die from it

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Amphibian populations are declining worldwide and a major cause is a deadly fungus thought to be spread by bullfrogs, but a two-year study shows they can also die from this pathogen, contrary to suggestions that bullfrogs are a tolerant carrier host that just spreads the disease. When researchers raised the frogs from eggs in controlled […]

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An ‘extinct’ frog makes a comeback in Israel

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The first amphibian to have been officially declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has been rediscovered in the north of Israel after some 60 years and turns out to be a unique “living fossil,” without close relatives among other living frogs. The Hula painted frog was catalogued within the Discoglossus […]

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Do salamanders’ immune systems hold the key to regeneration?

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Salamanders’ immune systems are key to their remarkable ability to regrow limbs, and could also underpin their ability to regenerate spinal cords, brain tissue and even parts of their hearts, scientists have found. In research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences researchers from the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) at […]

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Cannibal tadpoles key to understanding digestive evolution

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A carnivorous, cannibalistic tadpole may play a role in understanding the evolution and development of digestive organs, according to research from North Carolina State University. These findings may also shed light on universal rules of organ development that could lead to better diagnosis and prevention of intestinal birth defects. NC State developmental biologist Nanette Nascone-Yoder, […]

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The underground adventures of the Mediterranean frog Rana iberica

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Do frogs live underground? The answer is yes, some amphibians, such as salamanders and frogs have been often reported to dwell in subterranean habitats, some of them completely adjusted to the life in darkness, and others just spending a phase of their lifecycle in an underground shelter. Up until 2010, however, no one suspected that […]

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Scientists produce cloned embryos of extinct frog

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The genome of an extinct Australian frog has been revived and reactivated by a team of scientists using sophisticated cloning technology to implant a “dead” cell nucleus into a fresh egg from another frog species. The bizarre gastric-brooding frog, Rheobatrachus silus — which uniquely swallowed its eggs, brooded its young in its stomach and gave […]

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What do American bullfrogs eat when they’re away from home? Practically everything

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American bullfrogs are native to eastern North America but have been transported by people to many other parts of the globe, and other parts of North America, where they have readily established populations and become an invasive alien menace to native ecosystems. In the largest study of its kind to date, the stomach contents of […]

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Parallels in amphibian and bat declines from pathogenic fungi

Pathogenic fungi have substantial effects on global biodiversity, and 2 emerging pathogenic species—the chytridiomycete Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which causes chytridiomycosis in amphibians, and the ascomycete Geomyces destructans, which causes white-nose syndrome in hibernating bats—are implicated in the widespread decline of their vertebrate hosts. We synthesized current knowledge for chytridiomycosis and white-nose syndrome regarding disease emergence, environmental […]

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Eyes work without connection to brain: Ectopic eyes function without natural connection to brain

For the first time, scientists have shown that transplanted eyes located far outside the head in a vertebrate animal model can confer vision without a direct neural connection to the brain. Biologists at Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences used a frog model to shed new light — literally — on one of the […]

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Amphibian study shows how biodiversity can protect against disease

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The richer the assortment of amphibian species living in a pond, the more protection that community of frogs, toads and salamanders has against a parasitic infection that can cause severe deformities, including the growth of extra legs, according to a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder. The findings, published Feb. 14 in the […]

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How tadpoles re-grow their tails: Implications for human healing

Scientists at The University of Manchester have made a surprising finding after studying how tadpoles re-grow their tails which could have big implications for research into human healing and regeneration. It is generally appreciated that frogs and salamanders have remarkable regenerative capacities, in contrast to mammals, including humans. For example, if a tadpole loses its […]

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Trade rules must be tightened to halt frog-killing fungus

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Frogs are in trouble. In the 1990s researchers in Spain, Australia and Central America discovered that amphibians in rainforests and mountain lakes were dying in large numbers. The killer, it turned out, was chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has since been found around the world. Scientists have rushed to […]

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Richer parasite diversity helps protect frogs from viruses that cause malformed limbs

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Increases in the diversity of parasites that attack amphibians cause a decrease in the infection success rate of virulent parasites, including one that causes malformed limbs and premature death, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study. According to CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Pieter Johnson, scientists are concerned about how changes in biodiversity affect the risk […]

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Deadly frog fungus at work in the wild

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The fungal infection that has killed a record number of amphibians worldwide leads to deadly dehydration in frogs in the wild, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University researchers. High levels of an aquatic fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) disrupt fluid and electrolyte balance in wild frogs, […]

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Facial defects shown to self-repair

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Developmental biologists at Tufts University have identified a “self-correcting” mechanism by which developing organisms recognize and repair head and facial abnormalities. This is the first time that such a mechanism has been reported for the face and the first time that this kind of flexible, corrective process has been rigorously analyzed through mathematical modeling. The […]

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Athletic frogs have faster-changing genomes

Physically fit frogs have faster-changing genomes, says a new study of poison frogs from Central and South America. Stretches of DNA accumulate changes over time, but the rate at which those changes build up varies considerably between species, said author Juan C. Santos of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina. In the […]

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Deadly frog disease spreads through tolerant species

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There is no point sending healthy animals out into the world if they’re just going to catch a deadly disease. Pacific tree frogs that can survive a normally lethal fungus infection are spreading it to species that cannot. Such “reservoir” species could threaten frogs released from captive breeding programmes. Between 2003 and 2010, the deadly […]

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Why are there so many colors of poisonous frogs?

Hopping around in the Peruvian jungle, near the border with Brazil, is a menagerie of tiny poison dart frogs. Their wealth of colors and patterns—some have golden heads atop white-swirled bodies, others wear full-torso tattoos of black and neon-yellow stripes—act as the world’s worst advertisement to predators: Don’t eat me, I’m toxic. But why have […]

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Researchers find genes that help frogs resist fungus

For several decades, the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been decimating frogs, yet some populations and species have been able to resist the fatal disease, called chytridiomycosis. Now, for the first time, researchers have identified a genetic mechanism in lowland leopard frogs that makes some frogs resistant to Bd. Although many researchers have explored […]

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Cellular laser microsurgery illuminates research in vertebrate biology

Using an ultrafast femtosecond laser, researchers at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., were able to label, draw patterns on, and remove individual melanocytes cells from a species of frog tadpole (Xenopus) without damaging surrounding cells and tissues. Melanocytes are the cells responsible for skin pigment; they also are descendants of a specific type of stem […]

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Deadly amphibian disease found in the last disease-free region of central America

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Smithsonian scientists have confirmed that chytridiomycosis, a rapidly spreading amphibian disease, has reached a site near Panama’s Darien region. This was the last area in the entire mountainous neotropics to be free of the disease. This is troubling news for the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, a consortium of nine U.S. and Panamanian institutions […]

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Global catastrophic amphibian declines have multiple causes, no simple solution

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Amphibian declines around the world have forced many species to the brink of extinction, are much more complex than realized and have multiple causes that are still not fully understood, researchers conclude in a new report. The search for a single causative factor is often missing the larger picture, they said, and approaches to address […]

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Giant fire-bellied toad’s brain brims with powerful germ-fighters

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Frog and toad skins already are renowned as cornucopias of hundreds of germ-fighting substances. Now a new report in ACS’s Journal of Proteome Research reveals that the toad brains also may contain an abundance of antibacterial and antiviral substances that could inspire a new generation of medicines. Ren Lai and colleagues point out that scientists […]

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Dopamine controls formation of new brain cells

A study of the salamander brain has led researchers at Karolinska Institutet to discover a hitherto unknown function of the neurotransmitter dopamine. In an article published in the scientific journal Cell Stem Cell they show how in acting as a kind of switch for stem cells, dopamine controls the formation of new neurons in the […]

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Treadmill tests for poison frogs show toxic species are more physically fit

The most toxic, brightly colored members of the poison frog family may also be the best athletes, says a new study. So-named because some native peoples use their skin secretions to poison their darts, the poison dart frogs of the Amazon jungle are well known for their bitter taste and beautiful colors. The spectacular hues […]

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