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    World Frog Day
    • March 20, 2020

    Front view of a foothill yellow-legged frog half-submerged in flowing water, under a rock.
    The blank stare of foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii) as it rests in a stream. What is it thinking about?

    Today we celebrate members of the order Anura which is composed of frogs and toads. What’s not to love about our froggy friends? These moist goblins have large protruding eyes and a wide mouth that make them expressive, and some would describe them as “ugly cute.”

    Perhaps the most remarkable life history feature of frogs and toads is their metamorphic life cycle. They start off as water dependent lifeforms, tadpoles, that have a tail for swimming and gills for breathing. The tadpoles transform into their adult form, growing lungs and limbs that enable them to survive out of the water.

    Unfortunately, living a double life does not make them impervious. Amphibians are seen as “canaries in the coal mine,” indicators of environmental health. Global amphibian populations are in decline, and about one third of species are believed to be threatened. In some cases, they are even disappearing from protected areas without clear explanations. The exact cause of the decline is unknown but thought to be a combination of diverse factors that include habitat destruction, introduced species, chemical contaminants, disease, and climate change.

    California is home to a number of frog species, so keep an eye out for our froggy friends next time you find yourself at a pond or stream. The CNDDB tracks 16 species of frogs or toads. Help us keep track of them by submitting your observations to us!

    Person with frog boots in a marshy pond
    A frog fan explores a pond.

    Categories: Education and Awareness

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