Bizarre Night Call

My frogs and toads can be heard calling at night.  This can be an effective way of determining what species are present in an area.  However, this does not work on African Clawed frogs because they perform their call underwater!  People have recorded their calls through waterproof microphones and it is an eerie sound.

Here is a link to some recordings of their calls:

http://www.californiaherps.com/frogs/pages/x.laevis.sounds.html

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My Research Project

Everyone should be sure to check out a summary and video of my research project on African Clawed frogs.  I am trying to get some funding to perform the research through crowdfunding, where anyone can chip in and donate a little towards my research.

My project can be found on RocketHub along with over 60 other science projects all trying to raise money for their research.  There are a lot of interesting project out there that you can help fund!

Other science based projects can be found at: http://www.rockethub.com/projects/scifund

My project, African Clawed Frogs: The Mysterious Invaders, can be found at: http://rkthb.co/7526

 

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Thank you to my supporters!!!

I would like to take a moment and thank all of my supporters who are helping me reach my funding goal to perform research on African Clawed frogs.

To view my research project summary, complete with a video of yours truly, just visit: http://rkthb.co/7526

Thank you for your support:

Paul Matson

Nate Emery

Ana Garcia

Karen Wilson

Margaret Johnson

Nick Weiner

Daniel Wilson

Laurin Weisenthal

Larry Weisenthal

Sue Rodden

Louise Stevenson

 

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Amphibian Fungal Disease

Some of you may have heard about the amphibian fungal (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) that is wiping out amphibians across the globe.  This fungus causes a highly infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, and is responsible for many frog and toad population extinctions.  It is working its way through California’s Sierras, devastating frog populations.  Here is a picture from one of the field sites where the fungus has swept through (photo by Vance Vredenburg).

It is not entirely clear where this fungus came from.  One theory is that it arrived with African Clawed frogs as they were shipped all over the world for research and pregnancy tests.  Other theories hypothesize that the fungus has always been around and only recently evolved a deadly strain.

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To Catch A Frog

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Frogs tend to be elusive animals, particularly aquatic ones.  I’m trying to find the best way to trap African Clawed frogs.  It appears that minnow traps have worked in the past along with crayfish traps.  They are your basic funnel trap design where it is easier to get in that it is to get out because of the inward cone-shaped entrance.  I got a hold of a few minnow traps that might do the trick.

There is also the challenge of deciding what to bait these traps with.  There frogs are eating aquatic invertebrates of all kind so maybe something with a meat aroma would be alluring.  Maybe hotdogs.  What animal doesn’t like to eat hotdogs?  I have heard of people using dried dog food as well.  I may have to try a few things to pick up on the African Clawed frog’s favorite snack!

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Where are the African Clawed Frogs?

In the United States, several feral populations of African Clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) have been documented.  USGS has created a map that summarizes all these areas:  http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=67

 

It is very possible that the frogs have set up populations beyond what is shown on this map, but because so few people are looking for these elusive animals, they are simply overlooked.  It can be a challenge to find African Clawed frogs in the wild because they are fully aquatic and therefore spend their entire lives in the water, often hiding in vegetation.  The frogs will migrate over land when forced to is situations where their water source dries out.

As far as I know, no one has performed a systematic search for these frogs in California.  Typically, their populations are noted when someone stumbles upon them.  I would like to complete a search for these frogs to determine where they have established populations in order to get an idea of the extent of damage they may be inflicting on California’s ecosystems.

 

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