Pesticides kill frogs

argylesock says… Another reason to contribute to the Great Spawn Count. A few years from now, will there be amphibian spawn to count?

Here’s the science. I trust the journal it’s in – part of the well respected Nature Publishing Group. This report about pesticides and frogs is open-access, meaning that anybody can read the original science.

What does the report show? A group of scientists ‘studied the effects of seven pesticide products on juvenile European common frogs (Rana temporaria) in an agricultural overspray scenario.’ They took live frogs and sprayed them with seven pesticides – four fungicides, two herbicides and one insecticide – not all on the same frog. More frogs died than in another group of frogs which hadn’t been sprayed. The scientists concluded that these pesticides were toxic to frogs. Amphibian skin is known to be permeable, so that might be how the pesticides got into the frogs. The scientists said, ‘We suggest that pesticides effects in cropped areas should be incorporated in landscape scale analyses for conservation management of amphibians.’

Somebody (unnamed ‘spokesman’ from the chemical company BASF which I assume made these pesticides) questioned this research. It was a lab study, he said, exposing frogs to more pesticide than they’d get on farmland. Yes that’s true. There haven’t been any reports of too many frog deaths on sprayed farmland. Yes that’s true too.

But as one of the scientists replied, ‘We don’t have any data from the wild about dead frogs because no one is looking for them – and if you don’t look, you don’t find.’


About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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