If you want to do your bit to help frogs, hop on over to the website of the AMPHIBIAN SURVIVAL ALLIANCE, the world’s largest partnership for amphibian conservation.



Threatened Amphibians of the World – Simon N. Stuart, Michael Hoffmann, J. S. Chanson, N. Cox, N. J. Berridge, P. Ramani, B. E. Young, Eds. Published by Lynx editions in association with IUCN, 2008. A visual journey through the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the conservation status of the world’s 6,000 known species of frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians.  All ~1,900 species known to be threatened with extinction are covered, including a description of threats to each species and an evaluation of conservation measures in place or needed. Each entry includes a photograph or illustration of the species where available, a distribution map, and detailed information on range, population and habitat and ecology. Introductory chapters present a detailed analysis of the results, complemented by a series of short essays written by many of the world’s leading herpetologists. Appendices include annoted lists of lower risk species and a country-by-country listing of threatened amphibians.

In Search of the Golden Frog, by Marty Crump. 2000. This book is a detailed and fascinating chronicle of Crump’s adventures as a field biologist—and as a wife and mother—in South and Central America. Following Crump on her research trips through Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, we learn of amazingly diverse landscapes, equally diverse national traditions and customs, and the natural history of her subject of study, the frog. In leading us through rain forests and onto windswept coasts, Crump introduces us to such compelling creatures as female harlequin frogs, who pounce on males and pound their heads against the ground, and also sounds an alarm about the precipitous decline in amphibian populations around the globe.

Tracking the Vanishing Frogs, by Kathryn Phillips. 1994. In 1990, when a group of scientists sounded an unusual alarm about the declining number of frogs in the world, journalist Kathryn Phillips heard their call and followed them as they sought out the reasons for this intriguing situation. Here she provides an in-depth report of this fascinating investigation.

Frog, by Charlotte Sleigh. 2012. A witty, readable book that provides an entertaining and sometimes shocking account of this much-loved, and much-misunderstood animal. Sleigh provides answers to many questions, including why frogs have been so prominent in fairy tales, and also scientific experiments throughout the years, and just what place the frog holds in religion. The many faces of the frog are also explored, such as the devilish and comic; the sophisticated and chauvinist; the revolting and delicious. The author weaves the natural history of the frog together with their mythology in a way that has not been done before.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert, 2014. A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

The Ghost with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking and the Search for Lost Species by Scott Weidensaul, 2002. In The Ghost with Trembling Wings, naturalist Scott Weidensaul pursues these stories of loss and recovery, of endurance against the odds, and of surprising resurrections. The search takes Weidensaul to the rain forests of the Caribbean and Brazil in pursuit of long-lost birds, to the rugged mountains of Tasmania for the striped, wolflike marsupial known as the thylacine, to cloning laboratories where scientists struggle to re-create long-extinct animals, and even to the moorlands and tidy farms of England on the trail of mysterious black panthers whose existence seems to depend on the faith of those looking for them. The Ghost with Trembling Wings is a book of exploration and a survey of the frontiers of modern science and wildlife biology. It is, in the end, the story of our desire for a wilder, bigger, more complete world.

Articles: Amphibian Declines and Extinctions

Stuart, S.N., Chanson, J.S., Cox, N.A., Young, B.E., Rodrigues, A.S.L., Fischman, D.L. and Waller, R.W. 2004. Status and Trends of Amphibian Declines and Extinctions Worldwide, Science306: 1783-1786.

Young, B.E., Stuart, S.N., Chanson, J.S., Cox, N.A. and Boucher, T.M. 2004. Disappearing Jewels: The Status of New World Amphibians. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Stuart, S.N., Chanson, J.S., Cox, N.A., Young, B.E., Rodrigues, A.S., Fischman, D.L. and Waller, R.W. 2005. The past and future of extant amphibians. Response. Science 308: 50.

Disease, Climate Change and the Perfect Storm 

Link to Global Warming in Frog’s Disappearance is Challenged. Andrew Revkin, NY Times, March 25, 2008

Vanishing Frogs, Climate, and the Front Page. Andrew Revkin, NY Times, March 24, 2008

Steven M. Whitfield, Kristen E. Bell, Thomas Philippi, Mahmood Sasa, Federico Bolaños, Gerardo Chaves, Jay M. Savage and Maureen A. Donnelly. 2007. Amphibian and reptile declines over 35 years at La Selva, Costa Rica. PNAS 104 (20): 8352-8356.

Pounds J.A., Bustamante M.R., Coloma L.A., Consuegra J.A., Fogden M.P.L., Foster P.N., La Marca E., Masters K.L., Merino-Viteri A., Puschendorf R., et al. 2006. Widespread amphibian extinctions from epidemic disease driven by global warming. Nature 439:161–167.

La Marca, E. , K. R. Lips, S. Lötters, R. Puschendorf, R. Ibáñez, J. V. Rueda-Almonacid, R. Schulte, C. Marty, F. Castro, J. Manzanilla-Puppo, J. E. García-Pérez, F. Bolaños, G. Chaves, J. A. Pounds, E. Toral and B. E. Young. 2005. Catastrophic Population Declines and Extinctions in Neotropical Harlequin Frogs (Bufonidae: Atelopus). Biotropica 37(2): 190-201.

Ouellet, M., I. Mikaelian, B.D. Pauli, J. Rodrigue, and D.M. Green. 2005. Historical evidence of widespread chytrid infection in North American amphibian populations. Conservation Biology 19: 1431-1440.

Daszak P, Berger L, Cunningham AA, Hyatt AD, Green DE and Speare R. 1999. Emerging infectious diseases and amphibian population declines. Emerging Infectious Diseases 5(6): 735-748.

Laurance, W. F., McDonald, K. R., and Speare, R. 1996. Epidemic disease and the catastrophic decline of Australian rain forest frogs. Conservation Biology 10: 406-413.

Blaustein, A. R., and Wake, D. B. 1995. The puzzle of declining amphibian populations. Scientific American 272: 52-57.

Blaustein, A. R., Hokit, D. G., O’Hara, R. K., and Holt, R. A. 1994. Pathogenic fungus contributes to amphibian losses in the Pacific Northwest. Biological Conservation 67: 251-254.

Pounds, JA and Crump, ML. 1994. Amphibian Declines and Climate Disturbance: The Case of the Golden Toad and the Harlequin Frog. Conservation Biology 8(1): 72-85

Frog deformities

Parasites Creating Deformed Frogs in the western U.S. by Christine Dell’Amore, National Geographic News August 3, 2011.

Sessions, S., Franssen, R.A. and Horner, V.L. 1999. Morphological Clues from Multilegged Frogs: Are Retinoids to Blame? Science 30 April 1999: 284 (5415), 800-802.




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