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Male Frogs becoming Female Frogs by the use of Pesticides

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Frogs are common in the farming fields. The frogs are environment friendly and help the farmers by eating certain pest, which are harmful for the crops. In some of the areas in the world even there are farming of the frogs for the good meat and many countries are having number of dishes prepared from the frog meat. The population of the frogs can be maintained by taking care of the species. Many species are useful for certain diseases also. Medicinal use of frog is also known. Even the frog is used for the medical students to know the human anatomy.

Agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides have had good outcomes over the past few decades, but as with most good things comes bad. The good thing about these chemicals is that we are able to feed a lot more people. With our rapidly growing population, increasing the amount of food we can produce is a necessity. These chemicals can also increase the health of the crops. Unfortunately, agricultural chemicals harm the environment and the animals in it. One of these animals is the frog.

Frogs are a sign of the health of their ecosystems, so if there are this many species that are endangered and many that are already extinct, shouldn’t we realize the importance of this problem?

Since frogs are indicators of the health of their environment, when we see them improve, then the health of the environment will have improved.

A widely used Pesticide could be placing frog populations in danger by diminishing their ability to reproduce properly. Not only does exposure to the chemical linuron — a potato herbicide — reduce male frog fertility, it skews the sex ratios of growing tadpoles significantly towards females.

As frog populations are already under global threat of extinction, scientists are concerned that disrupting their natural reproduction could further hasten their decline. The devastation pesticides have caused to insect populations has been well documented, with German scientists warning of an “ecological Armageddon” when they found numbers had plummeted by 75 percent in the country’s nature reserves.

Ecotoxicologist Dr Cecilia Berg of the University of Uppsala and a team of Swedish and British researchers set out to investigate the effects of linuron in the West African clawed frog.

A common lab species, the clawed frogs were followed through their entire life cycle in Uppsala’s environmental toxicology lab. The scientists exposed tadpoles to concentrations of the pesticide similar to those that have been measured in natural environments.

They found that the tadpoles grew ovaries substantially more than they grew testicles, an effect the team attributed to the endocrine disrupting — or hormone disrupting — properties of linuron, which could hinder production of testosterone. The researchers found that once they had developed fully the male frogs exposed to the chemicals as tadpoles were less fertile and had certain feminine characteristics.

Dr Berg further added, “The results show that pesticides can cause permanent damage, such as reduced fertility in frogs exposed at the tadpole stage.”

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