By: Tara Flaherty
Summary. Scientist Raffael Ernst discovered the 'zombie frog' while doing field research for his PhD in the Amazon forest. This newly discovered species of frog lives most of its life underground and the male of its species is only known to call out during or directly after heavy rainfall. While out during a rainstorm Ernst heard a peculiar croak, one of an amphibian, but not one he had heard before. Following the sound of the cry Ernst and his fellow researchers dug in the mud until they found the source of the sound. The animal found only spanned about 1.5 inches and was orange and speckled in color. One would think that because of the species name that the zombie frog would have unusual physical features or extremely odd behavior but the zombie frog isn't drastically different than any normal species of frog. The species was instead given the name 'zombie frog' because of the appearance of the researchers after digging in the mud for hours. Little is actually known about the species itself, besides its nocturnal tendencies and physical features. Sadly Ernst believes that the zombie frog is nearing extinction. Amphibians are great indicators of environmental problems because of how sensitive they are to their surroundings, because of this up to seventy percent of amphibians are threatened with extinction. The amazon rainforest is struggling with this because of how much humans are abusing the wildlife. Industrial interests are tearing the forest up for resources including poaching, timber extraction, mining, and much more. Amphibians are dying because of decreased water quality, disease, habitat destruction and more in not only the Amazon but around the world because of humans ecological footprint.
Why we should care? Although this article isn't about a drastic issue that is affecting the entire world it is still an important topic in the fact that it reveals how little of the world is understood even by the most experienced scientists.
I found this article interesting because of how unique the species discussed is. I think as a whole frogs are a very fascinating species and this new species of frog does not disappoint. The name 'zombie frog' grabs your attention right away and it's interesting to find out that scientists didn't name them after the way they act or look but instead named them that because of how they, the scientists, looked after searching in the mud for the frogs. The frogs behave unlike many of their kind in the way that they live most of their lives underground and the males of their species only call out during or right after heavy rainfall. Making them a very difficult species to find.
Science in Action.
Dr. Raffael Ernst is a Herpetologist at the Senckenberg Research Institute.
Dr. Raffael Ernst has over 100 publications of his own discoveries that span from discussion of certain endangered frog species to the Atlantic forest hotspot. Although Ernst is originally from Germany he travels the globe for his research. I think this is valuable because his published works are all from hands on experience and things that he has seen with his own eyes. As mentioned in my summary above he was the scientist who discovered the 'zombie frog'. The discovery of new species is valuable to the science community because it gives us another glimpse of all the life that our Earth can sustain.
Wow, really interesting that they just found a new species of frog. Its so sad that amphibians are dying out at such a rapid rate. I learned about a fungi that has been a huge culprit of the demise of many frog species. This fungi is almost impossible to eradicate because the fungi continues to live on, even without frog hosts. once the frogs are infected, the fungi weakens them and they eventually suffer little frog heart attacks. I wonder if this is a cause of the demise of the newly discovered zombie frog.
Hey, zombie frog! It is astonishing to me that a creature that was just recently discovered could already be on the verge of extinction. I like how you mentioned that amphibians can give us a great insight into environmental problems because of how sensitive they are to their surroundings. It would be super interesting to study animal behavior and to make connections between their responses and human-caused changes in their environments. I can’t believe that around 70 percent of amphibians are near extinction, I never knew about this!
The article name of "Zombie Frog" really caught my attention and I was not disappointed in what I was reading. I found it interesting how there are new species of frogs, but they are already on the verge of extinction. It was sad to hear that mutations are happening because I did not know that when mutations occur in animals it shows how little we are caring about our earth and the environment. This blog opened my eyes because even though I was aware that we are not taking care of our earth, It was sad to hear that animals are changing due to change of habitat from our mistakes.
I really enjoyed this article because I was expecting the zombies frog name to come from the same parasitic condition that some animals were discovered to have; (examples being deer) and was really interested in understanding how that works, however I enjoyed the name coming from the scientists appearances instead. I find it rather impressive that Dr.Raffel Ernst was able to discovery this species based off noticing a different sound or sounding amphibian. I found it incredible that this species is being discovered at a point in time where it is speculated to be going extinct. It’s disappointing, especially knowing that the rate of extinction is extremely high due to our lifestyles currently. It also makes me wonder what other species have yet to be discovered that are close to extinction and what species we may have never known about or discovered that are already extinct. Amphibians sensitivity to their environment is something I find impressive, even though it may be a disadvantage, it still shows endurance. The blubbery orangey appearance of the zombie frog is something so interesting. I hope we can find away to learn more about these froggies and save them from their extinction. I am curious to know how different the females may look from the males as well. Are they larger or even a different cooler? Are their eggs cooler full? We’re the scientist able to get a recording of their mating call? Their white round nosies/mouths are also cute and interesting. Also I wonder what the point is of their color if they spend so much time deep in the ground, could it be that they are poisonous?
It's really interesting to see that although humans have been here for ages, we're still discovering new species every day. It is really sad to think about many species that have gone extinct already that we never even had the opportunity to discover. I have never heard of a species of frog that live so deep underground and only come out after rainfall, so this was very intriguing to learn about. I really hope we can slow down the amount of pollution we contribute so we can continue to discover new creatures before they go extinct.
I love how this title of “Zombie Frog” really jumps out and catches the readers attention. This is a great way to make it so that the reader is immediately think about the article in trying to figure out what they mean by zombie frog as they read. Flaherty then does a great job and transitioning from talking about the zombie frog to talking about how amphibians are a great way to see if we are treating our environment.
What an interesting looking, and named frog! Reading further into it, they say that even if they went out when its raining, and listened for these zombie frogs, their calls are super similar to every other frog in the area! So you where spot on saying that they are not drastically different from any other frog! I wonder if the frogs distinct snout and bulbous body have any distinct functionality, since even if it is not much different from any other frog in the area, it is still a peculiar looking frog totally separate from the ones you see in Michigan!
I think that it is super interesting whenever a new species is discovered because we humans have been around for so long that it just seems to so weird to randomly stumble across a brand new animal that hasn't been documented before. It is also scary, but it also makes sense that a brand new animal we discovered is already close to extinction because it seems like if we are just now discovering an animal it must mean that it's not that abundant of an animal so only as few maybe around. It's pretty cool how amphibians can tell us how the environment is doing. Its funny how the name of the frog came about poor guys had to be filthy and tired
Wow! It is a little cute, and I have to say I love frogs! I think it's amazing that a species could exist for so long without being detected. Not to mention how strangely unique it is to have a frog that is able to survive underground. I have heard of frogs having nests or holes they live in, or burying themselves in sand to keep cool. I believe this is the first time I am hearing of one that entirely exists in the dirt. So sad they are endangered!
It's crazy to see that a creature that has only recently been discovered is now nearing extinction. I believe that this is a bigger issue as it is becoming clear that we do not know as much about the natural world as we believe. This illustrates a concerning pattern. Creatures that we are just discovering that are also nearing extinction could be important to ecosystems that we are destroying or simply important to understanding how we can do better. I agree that this is really cool to find a new species, but also very sad that this species may not be around for long.
If I didn't read your article, I would have never known about the 'Zombie frog.' I'm still in shock that in this day and age, we can still find different species we have never seen before. Even though we just found this frog, it's terrible that it's already close to extinction. Hopefully, we can find some way to preserve their life, especially since amphibians are great indicators of problems occurring in the ecosystem.
Very fascinating! I feel as though amphibians are often not talked about or mentioned in relation to their impact on the environment or how useful they can be in determining the state of different environments. I found your story very interesting! It'd cool to think how some of these animals live in such extreme or bizarre habitats, such as the zombie frogs that stay deep under mud.
Sullivan E Stack
I am always very excited whenever a new species of frog is discovered due to the rampant destruction of their populations from chytridiomycosis and habitat destruction. For some reason, frog biologists love naming their discoveries unconventionally and I am remembering a new genus of frogs that was recently discovered "Mini" with the only species within the genus being mum, ature, and scule (so the full binomial nomenclature for these three species are: Mini mum, Mini ature, and Mini scule). Unfortunately, it seems as if these new discoveries and accompanying names will become less prevalent in the next few decades.
It is always super exciting to see the new species that are being discovered, especially a vertebrate. Usually newer species that are found tend to be parasites, deep sea animals, or insects as far as animals go. Another interesting thing that was coincidentally also found in the amazon was the discovery that there are actually two distinct species of Mata-Mata as opposed to just one following a DNA test. We know less about the world than we might think.
Wow, the Amazon rain forest truly creates one of the most bio diverse communities. As the Smithsonian magazine mentions, its sad that as we are still discovering new species, many others are being eradicated or close to extinction. The fact that amphibians are getting closer and closer to being wiped out its such a direct correlation to climate change and environmental impacts.
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