Published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the new research finds that when frogs lose water, they cannot jump far. This reality paints a worrying picture of frog life on a warming planet. (Read: Changing Tropical Rain Belt, The Impact Will Be Terrible)
The research focused on three species, namely the beach-tailed frog (Ascaphus truei), the shovel toe frog (Spea intermontana), and the Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla). All three amphibians are unique in their habitat, with A. truei favoring cold watercourses while S. intermontana lives in the desert and P. regilla is a kind of nomad.
Live specimens from all three species were placed in tanks under controlled conditions so the researchers could determine amphibian body temperature and levels of dehydration. Overall, the three frogs were able to maintain their mobility initially.
Sometime later there was a dramatic drop when they lost about 20 percent of their body weight due to dehydration. At this point, the three species began to jump shorter distances than when they were wet. (Also read: Hungarian scientists create a tracking device for the presence of water on the moon)
The tipping point for not being able to jump at all was a loss of 30 percent for both frogs and 45 percent for the desert frogs. Even frogs that are dehydrated and in warm environments, with control conditions ranging from 15 to 30 degrees Celsius (59 to 86 Fahrenheit) cannot jump at all.
It is thought that the mechanism behind this environmental induced difficulty jumping could be a disruption in ion exchange in cells caused by water loss. It could also be because the blood thickens due to dehydration, it makes the heart tense and physical activity looks more tiring.
This finding is clearly very influential in dealing with climate crisis Earth. Not only for frogs, but also for other “cold blooded” animals that rely on stable environmental conditions to maintain a physical condition that supports bodily functions known as homeostasis. (Also read: China Yutu 2 Explorers Vehicle Finds Strange Rocks on the Surface of the Moon)
Other animals whose mobility may also be hampered by dehydration include insects and reptiles. “As soon as the temperature rises a little, the tree frogs crouch as if they think these conditions are not good for them,” study author Dan Greenberg of Simon Fraser University, Canada, told New Scientist.