|Significance of frogs in our environment|
|Written by Mohan Raj K.|
Amphibians means double life - animals that metamorphose from a juvenile water-breathing form to an adult air-breathing form. Amphibians spend their life both in aquatic (water) and terrestrial (land) environments. Frogs and toads belong to order Anura. Anura means tail-less. As we know, the earliest known frog appeared during the late Jurassic period about 190 million years ago. Frogs that live in water have webbed toes. Some frogs that live high in trees use their webbing to glide and parachute. Ground dwelling frogs are more muscular in shape.
The frog skin functions to regulate moisture and fluid transfer. Most frogs and toads breathe (and take in moisture) through their skin through a process called cutaneous gas exchange, but they also have lungs with which they breathe.
Why should we pay attention to the frogs?
Frogs are an important indicator of ecosystems. Climate change and global warming have left some frogs with no suitable place to live and reproduce. Frogs and toads live in water and nearby terrestrial soils as eggs, embryos, larvae, tadpoles and adults. The places where the frog survives are the places we cultivate our crops and get drinking water.
Many of the human activities are unhealthy to frogs and their habitats. We drain the wetlands to claim land for cultivation, housing and other human activities thereby causing habitat destruction. Other upstream land use practices also affect the water quality leading to habitat pollution. The fertilizer and pesticide usage at farms in Nilgiris is a good example of upstream pollution. Pesticides, fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals find their ways into streams, rivers, ponds and lakes and causes the decline in frog populations.
Experts have noted that the effects of contamination in water affect the adult frogs, their eggs and tadpoles. Frogs also absorb and concentrate toxins in their fatty tissues. The study also reports that frogs exposed to pollutants have extra, misplaced or missing limbs.
Frogs are also friends of farmers. Frogs feed on many insects and pests that frequently destroy the crops. Also, they are consumed by fish, some large insects, snakes, lizards, larger frogs, birds and small mammals. In the food chain, frogs play a big role in maintaining healthy environment.
These amphibians have an intimate association with the environment, which is precisely why they provide such an alarming harbinger of our own future. When the frog population declines, we can be sure of decline in our environment. It is important to conserve the frogs and their habitats as they are our future.
இயற்கை காக்கும் எமது பணிகளில் நீங்களும் பங்கேற்கலாம்