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Pesticides Causing Population Decline of Amphibians: Study

Jan 25, 2013 06:11 AM EST
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Pesticides are playing a significant role in the population decline of amphibians, reveals a new research.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 41 percent of frogs and toads across the globe are facing a threat of extinction. The IUCN blamed various factors such as habitat loss, pollution, disease and climate change for the extinction threat faced by amphibians.

But a new study by German researchers, led by Carsten Bruehl at the University of Coblenz-Landau, has revealed that chemicals like fungicides and insecticides are also partly responsible for the population decline of amphibians.

The research team tested 150 juvenile European common frogs (Rana temporaria) in a lab, where the frogs were placed in containers with soil on which barley was grown.

The research team carried out various experiments, where the frogs were exposed to fungicides, herbicides and insecticides. The chemicals were administered in three different doses - recommended concentrations, one-tenth of recommended concentrations, and 10 times recommended concentrations, reports Agence France-Presse news agency.

Researchers found that the chemicals killed at least 40 percent of frogs used as test animals within a span of seven hours. In particular, a fungicide called pyraclostrobin, sold as the product Headline, had a more toxic effect than other chemicals. Frogs exposed to a recommended dosage of Headline were killed within one hour of their exposure to the chemical.

"The demonstrated toxicity is alarming and a large-scale negative effect of terrestrial pesticide exposure on amphibian populations seems likely," researchers wrote on the paper.

The findings of the study appear in the journal Scientific Reports.

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