Frogs are the “canary in the coalmine,” suffering first when the environment is toxic

Frogs are the “canary in the coalmine,” suffering first when the environment is toxic



As humans encroach on frogs’ territory, tadpoling has become extinct in many suburban waterways. There is, however, a technique to entice them back: frog motels.

Frogs, according to Australian Museum herpetologist Dr Jodi Rowley, are the “canary in the coalmine,” suffering first when the environment is toxic.

“Most frog species – not all, but most – are excellent environmental indicators. “They’re bellwethers, or canaries,” she explained.

“Even the tiniest alterations in their environment can have huge ramifications.”

“Older generations often tell me how much more prevalent frogs used to be… It’s been a slow, steady deterioration. Every cow hoofprint used to have tadpoles and eggs, but that’s no longer the case.”

Lead Image: Researchers say climate change and disease have affected Australia’s suburban frog distribution. Photograph: James Alcock/Australian Museum.


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