Frisky frogs: Biologist's 'love potion' helps dwindling species mate
Published Sunday, December 31, 2017 10:00PM EST
A Canadian biologist is fighting back against the rapid decline in amphibian populations with a love potion that gets frogs in the mood for mating.
University of Ottawa professor Vance Trudeau says that the mixture of two hormones “really does make (the frogs) go for it, so it is a love potion in a way.”
Vance says frogs don't breed easily in captivity. “So by using a hormone cocktail we can kind of trick the animal … to get them to breed,” he adds.
The mixture, called Amphiplex, prompts females to lay eggs and encourages mating calls in males, Vance says.
It has already been used to successfully breed about 20 species of frogs, including some that will be released into the wild when they reach maturity.
Vance says that one-third amphibian species around the world are endangered, including in Canada.
“That’s a huge amount,” he said. “This is the largest die off of species since the dinosaurs.”
Vance says there doesn’t appear to be any one reason for the decline. Culprits may include climate change, habitat loss, diseases, and pollution from sewage, pesticides and industrial chemicals.
Biology student Sue Zhang says “even really low levels of pollution can still affect the frogs’ mating behaviours.”
Vance says the decline of frogs impacts humans. For example, frogs eat disease-spreading mosquitos.
“The more frogs you have, the less insects you have, the less human disease you have,” he said.
With a report from CTV National News Parliament Hill Correspondent Kevin Gallagher