‘See-through’ frog is at risk of extinction

In news:

A new glass frog species with transparent skin through which its beating heart is visible has been discovered by scientists who warn that the amphibian may already be at threat of extinction.

The discovery:

  • The frog (Hyalinobatrachium yaku), discovered in the Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador, has unique physical and behavioural traits.
  • Males guard the eggs, which are attached below a tree’s leaves, until they hatch and fall on the water stream below.
  • The dark green spots on its back and its reproductive behaviour mark it out as different from known frogs.
  • Not all glass frogs have hearts that are visible through the chest. In some, the heart itself is white.
  • It’s not known why different species have different levels of transparency, but this frog will help to understand the evolutionary pattern that led to frogs being glass-like.
  • The discoveries like this glass frog can help raise awareness of what more there is to be lost with continued fossil fuel extraction, apart from what we already know about climate change.

Under threat:

  • Amphibians are the most threatened vertebrate class on the planet.
  • The frog’s habitat is rapidly disappearing. Oil production has expanded greatly in this species’ range, and road building is rampant.
  • If the stream dries up, or becomes polluted, the frogs can’t survive, and other more resilient creatures may be next.
  • According to the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, more amphibians are threatened by extinction than any other animal group.
  • A combination of factors—habitat destruction, climate change, a lethal disease called chytrid fungus—puts them under stress. The speed with which their populations crash is alarming.
  • 66% of Indian amphibians are under the threat of extinction, and if these little creatures vanish, a major ecological imbalance would follow. If there are no frogs, it would not be possible to grow anything in our fields
  • Amphibians were the first land animals and have a 350-million-year history. They are an environmental barometer and the quality of environment can be analysed by studying them.
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