In the past few decades, the aquatic life has been adversely affected due to human intervention. Agricultural use of pesticides is the leading cause of death among amphibians like frogs
When did you last see a frog around you? When did you last hear the ribbed of the frog? The population of mosquito-eating frogs is on a fast decline thanks to the blatant use of pesticides and galloping pollution. With their diminution, we are left to face the mosquito menace bearing a host of diseases and pests that destroy our crops in fields.
Frogs are found in every corner of the Earth. During the rains when mosquitoes, mosquito larvae, locusts, beetles, centipedes, ants, termite and spiders abound, the frogs devour these pests and help keep their population in check. However, in the past few decades, the frog – which can survive both on land as well as in water — finds itself is in grave danger of extinction.
“Aquatic life has been adversely affected due to human intervention in the past few decades. Introduction and exposure to foreign breeds has also proved dangerous. Agricultural use of pesticides is the leading cause of death among amphibians such as frogs,” informed Dr Anand Padhye, associate professor and head, Zoology in Pune’s Abasaheb Garware University.
He added: “Chytridiomycosis, a deadly fungal infection got spread in the country which dangerously harmed the frog population. Increasingly polluted lake, rivers and oceans, human interference in the aquatic habitats, conversion into agricultural land or construction activities pose a serious threat to these aquatic animals. Generally, human interference in aquatic habitats is bringing about a fall in the amphibian population.”
Being cold-blooded, frogs can regulate their body temperature to suit the atmospheric heat. In order to survive cold, a frog digs up to 2 feet beneath a pond and stays there without eating. A frog has four legs — two hind legs bigger than the forelegs due to which the frog can leap. Forelegs each have four and hind legs each have five webbed fingers for swimming.
Species of amphibians are fast disappearing. Turtle rescue specialist Dr Shailendra Singh, who is engaged in the study of the flora fauna in the marshlands for several years, informed: “Frog holds a crucial place in the ecological balance. Feeding upon many varieties of insects, frogs help in keeping several diseases at bay. Uttar Pradesh has 12 species of frogs out of which only bullfrog is sighted. The reason behind their decreasing number is the fungal infections due to polluted water. There has been a 30% fall in the population of overland as well as aquatic animals in the marshes.”
So far, more than 5,000 species of frogs have been identified. The Smallest frog sighted is of 9.8 mm. A frog can jump up to 20 times its length. Male frogs are smaller in-built than the female frogs. They drink water through their skin.
For many years, we exported frogs’ legs to France severing them from the alive frogs. By the time the government slapped a ban on it, most of the frogs were dead anyway. Thereafter came the deadly blow from the pesticides, drying up of water bodies and polluted water. People aggressively undertook construction activities on the Western Ghats and brought the frog population to its end.
Last century in the fifties, gynecologists used to inject African Clawed Frog with the urine of an expectant mother. If the woman was pregnant, her urine would induce ovulation in the frogs. So, from the forties till the seventies, all the hospitals used to import vast numbers of frogs. Clinical testing included testing on Bufo frog, which gave the test its name — the Bufo Test. Several thousand frogs were killed in the name of these tests.
A frog named Waxy Monkey Tree is found in South America. Its back contains a Dermorphine chemical, which is 40 times more potent than morphine in relieving the pain and inducing euphoria.
Dermorphine is illegally used in horseracing to make the horses race faster under its influence. In the recent blood tests of horses, the presence of the illegal drug was confirmed.
Scientists were engaged in the experiments for skin transplantations, a hundred years ago whereby they used to peel the skin segment off the live frogs and try to fix it over the scarred human part. No such experiment bore a positive result but one can imagine the insufferable pain that poor tiny creatures had to undergo for the sake of science.