Category Archives: Amphiban

Golden Poison Dart Frog

Golden Poison Dart Frog

One interesting thing about captive breeding is that your captive population is often based on the genetics of the initial individuals collected … often decades ago.

The golden poison dart frog is green (according to the zookeeper I talked to) because, in the wild, there are green ones and there are gold ones. Apparently, the green ones were easier to capture, so most of the ones you see in zoos are green.

This has started to change, as more frogs are being captured to help protect them against the chytrid fungus, so the genetic diversity of the captive population has increased.

Long Tailed Salamander

Long Tailed Salamander_2

This salamander is wondering why narrators are always talking about how this building or that can “be seen from space”.

“If we can see can see OGLE-2014-BLG-0124Lb, 76,422,100,000,000,000 miles* away, seeing something from orbit is nothing to brag about.
Even factoring in relative sizes, at half the mass of Jupiter, assuming similar density, OGLE-2014-BLG-0124Lb would have a diameter of 68,957.812 miles.
So, from a low earth orbit of 200 miles up, you should be able to see things that are 0.0000000001805 miles wide. That’s 0.00001143 inches … smaller than a human hair.”

Salamanders think they understand satellite imagery, but they really don’t.

* Converted to Western measurement for American readers. Salamanders still work in aṅgulas.

Frog

Frog_2

Frogs have been around for a long time. They’ve seen humans learn to play with sticks. They’ve seen humans push those sticks into the mud to make pictures. They’ve seen those pictures turn into simplified symbols. They’ve seen those symbols simplify even further so they could be combined to increase meaning. They’ve seen the increased communication abilities drive global trade. They’ve seen global trade get sped up with computers. They’ve seen these computers translating the simplified symbols into other simplified symbols so people in different parts of the world can understand each other. They’ve seen people work together to improve this process, fostering global understanding and the creation of a world-wide list of characters so computers can understand all language on earth. They’ve even seen what humans do with this amazingly advanced technology.

Was it worth all the effort?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Yellow-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

Yellow-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

From Wikipedia: “The spotted salamander, like other salamanders, shows great regenerative abilities: if a predator manages to dismember a part of a leg, tail, or even parts of the brain, head or organs, the salamander can grow back a new one, although this takes a massive amount of energy.”

I am now envisioning a salamander super-villain who has to drain the life force of others to regrow his limb.

Mountain Yellow-legged Frog (Rana muscosa)

Mountain Yellow-legged Frog (Rana muscosa)_1

This is bad photo. It is, however, the best photograph I have been able to take of the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog.

This is a US species that has lost 90% of its population in the last century. It was already threatened by introduced fish and pesticides (turns out that when you spread around a substance to kill things, it kills things). Then chytridiomycosis arose and things got fairly dire.

When you visit various zoos, you see that many of them are involved in trying to preserve this species. It is, however, extremely rare to actually see them. Much of the conservation seems to be occurring behind closed doors. This makes sense when you have to keep things as small as spores out of exhibits, but it does mean that photos like this are the best you get.

Three-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)

Three-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)

According to Wikipedia (2016), quoting T. Ryan Gregory (2008), quoting D. E. Comings (1972) who may or may not quoting anyone because he said it in a book instead of the Internet, the amphiuma has 25 times as much DNA as a human.

I have no idea how this is measured. It seems to me that it has to be based on a body size ratio, because an adult amphiuma averages 450g and an adult human averages 65,000g … a tad bit more. So, if it’s ratio based, is it amount of DNA material vs body mass? DNA material vs the rest of a cell? If so, which type of cell? DNA material vs material in the nucleus?

Maybe it’s just a chromosome count. Maybe it’s total amount of genes. Maybe it’s based on the length of the DNA “threads”. Maybe it’s a count of the total number of atoms in all of the DNA in an average representational nucleus.

Anyway, this is why you either need to be more careful when quoting things or put your source material where everyone can get it.