Thursday, September 11, 2008

Armoured Mistfrog: Back From the Dead

Dear readers,

Some good news for the day: researchers in northern Queensland, in Australia, have stumbled upon several frogs in a creek. Why is this news of mythic import? Because we had thought the frog extinct - a victim of the fungus that is exterminating amphibian species around the world at a terrifying rate. This is the armoured mistfrog (what a beautiful, odd name!), in a photo belonging to James Cook University:

And here is an AP article detailing the find. And you can read an earlier editorial in Dante's Heart concerning the impending extinction of frogs here. The most exciting part about these frogs whose hearts are still beating in a creek in Australia, according to the AP article, is that all of the frogs that the researchers have located are infected with the fungus - however, they have survived, where others of their kind did not. (Similar cases have been found in the northeastern U.S., where certain frog species have proven capable of living with the fungus rather than dying from it.) Perhaps there is a clue here that may help biologists save the last of the world's frogs.

Certainly there is an epic tale buried in here, largely unheard by most, an unsung tale of the fight by biologists around the globe to save the frogs - those odd, curious creatures that live both on land and in water, and that many of us encountered first through Kermit or through pet tadpoles or a dozen green toys when we were little.

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