Archive for the 'Amphibians' category

Made for Each Other: Evolution of Monogamy in Poison Frogs

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Peruvian mimic poison frog, Ranitomeya imitator.
Image: Jason Brown [larger view]

To know the breeding system is to know the genetic architecture of a species.
To know the evolution of a breeding system is to know how evolution works ..

~ Lewis & Crowe, Evolution (1955)

Genetic tests have revealed the secret sex life of a tiny poison dart frog species that lives in the Peruvian rain forests: remarkably, it turns out that these frogs are monogamous. But the reason this species is monogamous is surprising: it's all about the size of the pools that their tadpoles mature in. This is the best evidence yet that just a single cause can affect evolution of a major life history trait, such as a species' mating system.

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Reptiles and Amphibians: Waterfall Toad Leap from Danger

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Gail Weiswasser at the Discovery channel emailed a few days ago to tell me about TONIGHT's premiere on the Discovery Channel of BBC's LIFE, the 11-part follow up to PLANET EARTH (the most successful natural history documentary of all time). While PLANET EARTH told the story of the natural world through the framework of our planet's ecosystems and regions, LIFE takes us on a more intimate journey, introducing different animal and plant groups, using the latest in HD filming techniques to show jaw-dropping behaviors never witnessed before. Narrated by Oprah Winfrey and spanning all seven continents, LIFE took over four years to produce and every minute of footage in the series is new. Unfortunately, due to copyright restrictions, I am unable to watch the youtube "sneak peeks" in Germany, but at my request, Gail kindly emailed the youtube embed codes so my American readers can watch them:
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Scientists Discover 56 New Species on Remote Lost World, Papua New Guinea

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A large brilliant green tree frog, Nyctimystes species, with enormous eyes, was discovered by scientists next to a clear-running mountain river.
Image: Steve Richards/Conservation International.

A brilliant green tree tree frog with giant black eyes, tentatively classified as a Nyctimystes species, is one of 56 new species of animals discovered during a 2008 expedition to the remote island of Papua New Guinea.

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Ranitomeya tolimense

Jan 01 2009 Published by under Amphibians, Conservation, Image of the Day

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Golden-headed Poison Frog, Ranitomeya tolimense.
Image: Alonso Quevedo, Fundacion Proaves [larger view].

The South American country, Colombia, is home to more threatened amphibian species than any other country on earth. In a bid to protect some of them, such as the Golden-headed Poison Frog, Ranitomeya tolimense, conservation groups recently purchased some undisturbed forest and created the Ranita Dorada Amphibian Reserve.

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Samkos Bush Frog

Dec 22 2008 Published by under Amphibians, Image of the Day

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Samkos bush frog, Chiromantis samkosensis.
Image: Fauna and Flora International [larger view].

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Seattle Visit: University of Washington's GreenHouse, Part Two

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Captive-bred Dyeing Poison Dart frog, Dendrobates tinctorius, from the Guianas of northeastern South America.
Image: GrrlScientist 29 September 2008 [larger view].

This is part two of my UW Biology Department greenhouse photoessay. In part one, I showed you seedpods and a lot of flowers (some of which need to be identified), but in this, the second and last part, I am focusing on The Surprise I kept telling you about. As you can see, the surprise discovery I made in the greenhouse is the poison dart rainforest frogs! I am especially proud of these pictures because these tiny frogs move extremely quickly, so they are very difficult to photograph.

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Screaming Frog

May 08 2008 Published by under Amphibians, Brain & Behavior, Streaming videos

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This amusing streaming video shows a frog that was discovered by an amateur naturalist -- this frog was not enjoying the experience of being handled, either [0:25].

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Life in Cold Blood

Apr 14 2008 Published by under Amphibians, Book Review, Reptiles, Zoology

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When asked why there are so few books about amphibians and reptiles -- collectively referred to as "herps" -- published for the general public, David Attenborough responds by pointing out that "reptiles and amphibians are sometimes thought of as slow, dim-witted and primitive. In fact they can be lethally fast, spectacularly beautiful, surprisingly affectionate and extremely sophisticated." Even though this is true for many herps, it takes a lot of dedication and skill to show those less-known qualities to a general audience, most of whom are afraid of these ecologically important species. To help shed some light on these widely misunderstood animals, a new book has just been published, Life in Cold Blood, by David Attenborough (New Jersey: Princeton University Press; 2008). This book is the companion volume for the television series (and DVD) with the same name.

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Bullfrog Ballet: Never Say Goodbye

Mar 18 2008 Published by under Amphibians, Streaming videos

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Frogs Forever? Only if we leap in to save them. There's a global crisis facing all amphibians -- frogs, toads and salamanders -- they're vanishing before our very eyes. [2:11].

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AMNH Subway Art #42

Feb 15 2008 Published by under Amphibians, My Pictures, NYC life, NYC Through My Eye

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African reed frog, Hyperolius marmoratus,
as portrayed in tiles on the walls of the NYC uptown subway stop (A-B-C)
at 81st and Central Park West. (ISO, no zoom, no flash).
Image: GrrlScientist 2008. [wallpaper size].

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