Recently I saw the Disney movie, "The Princess and the Frog" in which the animators projected the colorful and melodious experience of the Louisiana marshes. As the title suggests, frogs in that marshy area play a stellar role. While watching the film with my youngest daughter, I thought about the precarious condition of these precious wetlands and the growing threats to their inhabitants, the frogs.
As the debate continues on the effects on health and to the environment of climate change in animals, frogs and their amphibious companions are becoming the "new canaries in the coal mine." As the skin of amphibians is permeable, these creatures are more susceptible to contaminants and changes in their aquatic habitats. By their very nature, they are considered as a "sentinel" species in charge of warning the arrival of the enemy or dangerous conditions, hence the term "canary in the mine".
There are more than five thousand species of amphibians worldwide. Many live in North America. In Puerto Rico, our favorite amphibian is coquí-eleutherodactylus coquí. Eleutherodactylus comes from the Greek and means free fingers. Coquí is the popular name and refers to the onomatopoeia of his singing. In general these amphibians have been able to adapt well to the population growth in the Island, however, the contamination is having adverse effects. While more than 16 species are endemic to Puerto Rico, several species are now threatened. Some of these species with popular names such as coqui of Aeneida, coquí webbed, golden persimmon of the Cayey, coquí guajón, coqui hammer and coqui mahogany, have not been heard in years. As I mentioned in previous blogs, these small amphibians have reached neighboring islands, Florida and even the Hawaiian Islands where they are considered an invasive species.More news: PRISMATIC CHECKS IN SCOTLAND / ABERDEEN BIRDING
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About the author: Lina M. F. Younes has been with the EPA since 2002 and is in charge of the Multilingual Communications Working Group. As a journalist, he ran the Washington office of two Puerto Rican newspapers and has worked in various government agencies.
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