What Happens When A Frog’s Car Breaks – A “big night” only happens twice a year, and the conditions have to be right. It must be spring, and the weather rises above 45 degrees Fahrenheit at night, allowing the ground to thaw. And of course it must rain.
When all these stars align, it’s the perfect time for the herpers to come out, wake up from hibernation, and start migrating to their breeding ponds, scouting the amphibians that have been waiting all winter.
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“You have endless frogs and salamanders moving around,” said Gregory LeClair, a graduate student in ecology at the University of Maine.
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LeClair has been running “My Big Night,” a community science project that takes place during these special times for the state’s amphibians, for years. He began counting amphibians in 2018 while pursuing a master’s degree at Unity College. Along with other students and professors, the team counted the amphibians on the roads near the university town. By 2020, he had expanded his efforts, enlisting the help of nearly 200 volunteers from across the state.
That year, the volunteers noticed something different as soon as they got out on the field. Previous surveys have shown that one of the two amphibians found died, entangled in the tires of cars and trucks on the roads they surveyed. But during the survey that year, early in the shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers found many amphibians alive on the roads.
“I had a hunch that the death rate was very low — there were certainly fewer people on the road,” LeClair said.
From 2018 to 2021, volunteers found 7,749 amphibians, both alive and dead. In 2020, they received 2,100 views. Although there are 17 known species of amphibians found in Maine, only 16 of them have been found in surveys so far. But some are more common than others.
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Migratory species were the ones that appeared on the roads during the survey, which is not surprising, since these animals must travel between hibernation and breeding areas. The most common is the spring pear (
), the dime-sized frog is known for its characteristic features. Other common species are tree frogs (
), are a species of concern in Maine. Non-migratory species such as green frogs were also found in their studies (
Back in the lab, the researchers compared what they observed during the shutdown. Then, they modeled the number of living and dead amphibians over the years. In a recently published study
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They confirmed that the number of dead amphibians decreased during the pandemic compared to the spring of 2018, 2019 and 2021.
For example, in 2019, researchers put the death rate at around 20%. In the spring, during the pandemic, the death rate dropped to 8%. In the past year, as traffic has grown, it has jumped to 15%.
Of the amphibians they studied, the models showed that frog mortality decreased the most during the pandemic year. But Leclair said the finding could be biased.
The most common frog, the spring frog, is small and crawls well along the road when alive. When they die, their glowing internal organs and stomach make them easy to spot. And the volunteers for these surveys don’t just count the amphibians, they help them cross the road when they are found alive. LeClair believes volunteers will be better at finding salamanders while they’re alive and helping them cross roads.
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However, in the same surveys conducted each year, fewer people die during a pandemic year.
LeClair said their study had similar results to other research showing that road kill of other species also decreased during the lockdown. US Road death data tracked by the Department for Transport, for example, showed declines for most of their animal categories during the pandemic.
The findings also show that lack of traffic affects amphibian survival rates. By reducing traffic for one night each spring, he suggests, the number of amphibian casualties could be significantly reduced. As far as concerns go, it may be worth rerouting traffic on those nights.
Joshua Rapp is a science writer at Learn Society. Contact him at jlearn@ for any questions or comments about his article. African clouded frogs (Xenopus laevis) were able to regrow a functional limb within 18 months of a new treatment. Paul Starosta via Getty Images
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Only a handful of animals can naturally replace lost limbs, including some salamanders, starfish, and axolotls. In the wild, the African clawed frog cannot regrow a lost appendage. But now, a new experimental technique is helping amphibians replace their missing body parts, and scientists hope their work will one day make it possible to regenerate human limbs.
In a recent study published in Science Advances, researchers from Tufts and Harvard University amputated the leg of an adult African clawed frog and then coated the stump with a special cocktail of five drugs. They let the wounds soak in the solution for the next 24 hours. Then, over the next year and a half, mature frogs regenerate a functional leg-like structure, complete with nerves, muscles, bones, and toe-like projections.
“It’s exciting that the drugs we selected help create a nearly complete organ,” Tufts University biologist Nirosha Murugan said in a statement. “The fact that a regeneration process of several months requires only a brief exposure to the drug suggests that frogs and other animals may have latent regenerative capacities that can be activated.”
According to USA Today’s Jordan Mendoza, animals that can regenerate limbs, such as lizards, use stem cells from the ends of wounds. But like humans, African clawed frogs cannot regenerate complex limbs, instead using scar tissue to heal the wound.
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To stimulate the growth of a leg, the scientists applied a silicone cover called a “biodome” to each frog’s wound. Each cap contains a mixture of five drugs, including hormones to promote nerve and muscle growth and another to prevent the frogs’ bodies from producing collagen, which leads to scarring, says LiveScience’s Patrick Pester. The wood-like cap mimics the fluid-filled sac in which embryos develop.
“Using the Biodome cap for the first 24 hours helps mimic an amniotic-like environment that, with the right drugs, allows the remodeling process to continue without interference from scar tissue,” said study author David Kaplan, an engineer at Tufts. a press release.
The frogs’ regenerated limbs were functional but not complete. Their new appendages were missing their toes and some webbing, but the frogs were able to use their new leg to swim.
“It’s not a whole organ growing back,” Kelly Tseng, a biologist who studies regeneration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who was not involved in the research, told Sabrina Imbler for the New York Times. “But it’s definitely a strong response.”
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Next, the research team is testing their technique on mice, which they hope will present new challenges. Despite the hurdles ahead, the success of the African clawed frog experiment has Murukane confident he will see similar applications for humans in decades.
“The biomedical engineering side is really making these new discoveries to understand and correct biology. I think integration will make it possible in our lifetime,” Murugan tells Business Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnson. Goliath frogs, somehow, are bigger than you think. They’re more than a foot long from snout to rump (or “vent” if you’re a herpetologist), but that doesn’t take up much of their thick, muscular legs, which can propel them 10 feet in one go. jump over. All of this makes them the largest frogs on Earth – and frankly, there’s nothing bigger. That’s about as much frog the world can take.
Biologists know very little about these massive amphibians because they live in a very small area, from southwestern Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea. Local hunters of goliath frogs have long said the animals build nests or small side pools, branching off into main waterways to lay their eggs, but scientists have never been able to confirm or study this behavior.
Their plan has begun. A paper from the 1980s suggested that Goliath tadpoles only feed on one specific plant species, but according to Marc-Oliver Rodel, a herpetologist at the Leibniz Institute for Evolutionary and Biodiversity Research, he and his colleagues thought that was nonsense. The plant in question did not completely overlap with the frogs’ territory, and it would be highly unusual for tadpoles to eat a single plant. But Goliath frogs are on the verge of extinction, partly because they are hunted for food and as pets, so it’s time to find out just how dangerous their food supply is. “We need to know more about the biology of these organisms to make sure we know what to do,” Rodell explains, “a
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