Monday, September 24, 2007

“Horrific” Frog Deformities Tied to Your Dinner Plate

"You can get five or six extra limbs. You can get no hind limbs. You can get all kinds of really bizarre, sick and twisted stuff," said one researcher when referring to “horrific deformities in frogs” resulting from farm and ranch runoff. This according to a report at Reuters.

As it turns out, a long, disturbing chain of events resembling a nursery rhyme from hell leads from corn stalks and cows to mutant frogs.

It all starts when nitrogen and phosphorus, from animal waste at ranches and fertilizers at farms, runs off into the watershed. These nutrients cause algae to grow out of control, which leads to more snails, which leads to more “trematodes,” a parasitic worm that infects snails.

Trematodes turn snails into “zombies,” according to one scientist, which allow the worms to “expel thousands of offspring.” When the snails die, the trematodes end up in ponds where they burrow into frog larvae causing the wild deformities described above.

Eventually, the deformed frogs (which are easy prey), get eaten by birds which “spread the [trematodes] back into the ecosystem through defecation.” From there, the whole wicked cycle starts over again.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.