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View Diary: Pique the Geek 20090621.  Drugs of Abuse III:  the Psychedelic Indoles (143 comments)

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  •  I really don't know their status (3+ / 0-)
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    G2geek, Translator, Larsstephens

    I live in California and I'm most familiar with what's going on with west coast amphibians.  With out habit of lining riparian zones with concrete for flood control, a lot of habitat is gone.  Cattle also trash streamside environments, collapsing the banks and destroying vegetation which provides cooling shade and hiding spots.  This turns the area into nonnative Bullfrog habitat (they eat other Anurans).  We've lost most of our our southern California populations of Red-Legged Frogs and Foothill Yellow-Legged Frogs... no one is sure why.  In the Sierra Nevada where I live the Yosemite Toads and Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs which filled the meadows, streams and lake shores when I was a kid are mostly gone from a possible combination of increased ultraviolet exposure, pesticide residue from spraying in the Central Valley, introduced predatory trout, and most definitely the Chitrid Fungus which is implicated worldwide in amphibian declines.  Our Pacific Chorus-Tree Frogs are doing pretty good though.

    Your distinction of aquatic and terrestrial lifestyles in Ranids and Bufonids is spot on.  Bufo-Toads remind me of skunks.  They both cruise about on land with little abiltiy to flee from predators, but most predators know that messing with them may entail paying a very high price.

    moderation in everything ... including moderation

    by C Barr on Mon Jun 29, 2009 at 06:13:11 AM PDT

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    •  heh, skunks:-) (1+ / 0-)
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      Good analogy there.  The first thing many toads do when picked up is to lose bladder control, which is also a useful defense.  The small ones merely taste bad to the average dog, thus getting spat out quickly, whereafter both parties retreat from each other none the worse for wear.  

      BTW, the other one in the Northeast was either Fowler's Toad or the Spadefoot Toad if I recall correctly.  The distinctions between these and the American Toads were fairly subtle, though the Spadefoot toad had a more pronounced bump on its hind feet with which to dig itself into a little burrow by backing in as it dug.

      Bullfrogs have become a pain in the butt in a lot of ecosystems, and eating the native frogs is a particularly nasty habit of theirs.  When I was a kid, green frogs were common (these were mostly brown of course, with green markings near their noses) and bullfrogs were relatively rare.  

      Sorry to hear about the losses in your area, though at least the treefrogs are keeping up.  I'm wondering if that doesn't have something to do with them living above the ground most of the time.  

      I'm not as familiar with the western frogs/toads/treefrogs as the eastern ones, despite living in CA (in the damn city) for 25 years.  Are the Pacific Chorus Treefrogs similar to Spring Peepers?  Reason why is, I was out & about once and found something that looked quite like a Peeper, and of course I picked it up, and the little guy immediately started climbing up my hand and up my arm, as if I was a plant. Wondering if that might have been a Pacific Chorus Treefrog.  

      Dumb Question Department:  has anyone attempted to breed frogs & toads in a quasi-controlled environment?  I'm thinking, an indoor pond in a greenhouse environment, with natural light but the UV filtered out by special glass, and all the non-sprayed bugs they can eat.  The goal being to get thousands of viable tadpoles in each spring breeding season and then when they mature, release 3/4 or so and keep the rest as breeding stock for the next season.  I understand they won't breed in aquariums, but given enough space and something that looks enough like the outdoors, maybe...?

      •  Been away from home and the computer this week (0+ / 0-)

        But maybe you'll see this reply.

        I've always wanted to see a Green Frog.  As a kid, so much of the natural history literature was oriented towards eastern North America, I probably knew more about the flora and fauna back east than I did about my own backyard.

        I'll have to look up Fowler's Toads.  The distinctive characteristic of all Bufo-True Toads is the large paratoid gland along the side of the head behind the eyes.  This gland can really crank out the toxin (bufotin).

        Unless you were along a boulder filled stream, the frog you describe finding in California was undoubtably a Pacific Chorus-Treefrog.  It would have had a dark eyestripe.  They used to be called Pacific Treefogs, Hyla regilla (little king)but then got moved from Hyla (treefrogs)and categorized with the chorus frogs and the name was changed to Pseudacris regilla.  Pseudacris means false cricket.  I had the chance to closely examine a Western Chorus Frog in Flaggstaff, Arizona.  The little guy sure did resemble the Pacific Chorus-Treefrog, but it lacked the sticky toepads for climbing people's arms.

        Actually, UV has been found to be essential for maintaining healthy lizards in captivity.  I don't know its role in amphibians.  Many frogs do bask a lot.  Speculation on its role in frog population declines was oriented mostly to high altitude species that may be pushing their UV tolerance already trying to obtain enough warmth and whatever else they may get from that unshielded fusion reactor in the sky.

        Pacific Chorus Frogs will thrive and breed in a terrarium environment.  Herptile aficianados have really gotten the captive propagation thing down.  Some people are successfully breeding all sorts of exotic frogs.  Once I brought up the issue of captive breeding with a hepetologist when discussing the Red-Legged Frog population behind Santa Barbara.  He was very active in advocating for critical habitat protection.  He thought that captive breeding was an unproductive distraction because it could be used as an alternative to habitat protection by developers.

        That said, in the small town where I now live at the northern edge of the Mojave Desert, we are rewatering the town by running ditches through people's yards which will flow all summer.  One of my hobbies is raising water lilies.  My backyard has a series of pools which the Pacific Chorus Frogs (I want to call them treefrogs so badly)have found and it's an unending orgy out there.  Even with the marauding coons there are skads of froglets amongst the vegetation.  We hope that if enough of us provide these breeding pools the town can once again be filled with frogs.  Now that I have enough sheltering plant cover out back, I hope to bring in some Western Toad tadpoles and get their population going here again.  The guy behind this ditch project grew up here and says that when he was a kid, when it rained the streets would be full of toads.  These could have been Great Basin Spadefoots instead of Western Toads.

        moderation in everything ... including moderation

        by C Barr on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 10:44:33 PM PDT

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