When I reflect on the threatening processes that impact frogs, I can’t help but want to share this information, to inform the public and create awareness around the ever increasing necessity to protect and care for our frog fauna.
So today, being Rachel Carson Day, I thought it was fitting to write my new quick fix frog blog about frogs and pesticides.
Here are some quick facts about frogs and pesticides:
• Pesticides (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc...) are toxic chemicals that generally undergo little to no testing on frogs prior to their being approved for use. Unfortunately, many end up in waterways, where frogs live and breed.
• Frogs have permeable skin, which means they are highly susceptible to absorbing chemicals within the environment – both on land and in water.
• Tadpoles appear to be more sensitive than adults.
• Species differ in their sensitivity to pesticides.
• Pesticides used in gardens and agricultural systems can be transported by wind and contaminate pristine environments and thus can impact local frog populations as well as their food source.
• Hermaphrodite frogs (males grow female sex organs) have been found in urban, suburban and agricultural ponds. This is believed to be due to contaminants found in the water such as pesticides, flame retardants, and chemicals used to give fragrance to soap and cosmetics.
• The insecticide endosulfan at low levels found in the environment can be deadly for tadpoles.
• Unfortunately, the hazardous nature of the deadly chytrid fungus affecting frog populations worldwide, could be made worse by the immune suppression produced by pesticide mixtures.
• What to do: It’s pretty simple – DON’T USE PESTICIDES at home and collectively we need to pressure corporations to substantially reduce pesticide use and ban those pesticides, such as endosulfan, found highly toxic to frogs.
Rachel Carson designated half of her own land in Maryland to be kept wild for the birds and frogs. She would no doubt be distressed by the continuing pesticide threats to frogs and other amphibians.
Sources and further reading: