Hopping to the Rescue: Researchers Work for Endangered Toads
Many of the world’s frog and toad populations are reaching critically endangered levels. There are many contributing factors to their decline, but one thing is certain: if these amphibians aren’t able to reproduce, they won’t be bouncing back anytime soon.
Such is the case for the Boreal toad, a species that has become increasingly threatened in recent years. Sure, toads may be known for their supposedly slimy, wart-covered skin and bulging eyes, but it’s not just looks that are keeping these Colorado Rockies natives from, shall we say, hopping to it. Scientists believe Boreal toads’ reproductive cycles are linked to their hibernation patterns, which means captive breeding efforts can be difficult because captive toads don’t hibernate.
That’s where Morris Animal Foundation and a team of researchers at Mississippi State University and the Memphis Zoo come into play. In a Foundation-funded study, investigators are figuring out ways of using hormones to get the toads to reproduce in captivity without hibernation.
"We're trying to override hibernation and use hormones to induce breeding,” explains Cecilia Langhorne, a doctoral student working on the project. “But this is proving to be a fine science."
Langhorne’s comments were made in a recent Clinton News article that highlights the study. You can read more about the Boreal toad and the study in the article here.
Posted by MAF on May 17, 2012.