Poisonous Frogs are More Likely to Face Extinction

Most people have seen pictures of the cute, teeny-tiny frogs with rainbow-colored skin. And most who have seen pictures of those frogs also know of their ability to kill due to the toxins in their system; a clear warning to stay away. The toxins in their system protect them from predators, thereby insuring their survival. But, according to ScienceDaily, this may not be the case. According to a study done, poisonous frogs are actually more likely to face extinction. Amphibians have all sorts of defense mechanisms, from “poisons or irritants, camouflage, warning colouration and mimicry.” However, those that use some type of a chemical defense usually are shown to go extinct much faster than those that do not (i.e. warning coloration or mimicry). One theory behind this is that the amphibians that use the chemical defense leave themselves exposed or vulnerable in some other way. This particular theory does not hold true with the popular theory ‘escape-and-radiate’. This theory details that amphibians that use defense mechanisms are able to escape predators and then reproduce into multiple variations of the same species. But, Dr Kevin Arbuckle, the lead author of the study researching the new theory, says that this theory does not “account for the effects of extinction rates.” Due to this, I wonder how much truth there is in the ‘escape and radiate’ theory. Personally, I am of the opinion that while it sounds probable, it does not factor in important variables, thereby rendering it as incomplete. But, the farther they progress with the study of how toxins effect overall species survival, the more their “findings could help support the conservation of endangered species.” This is an interesting quote, and one that speaks volumes. By figuring out how to predict species extinction rates, one can thereby help focus on the species that, without human intervention, would have the longest survival rate. This would help ensure that certain species would have the chance to evolve and grow without interference from humans. The whole article as a whole presented an interesting theory; that the one thing we have all thought ensured a species’ survival might in fact be its downfall. But, the fact that learning about this could help save many more species though predicting the species’ extinction rates is an amazing thought. I hope it comes into play soon. The only thing that was not made as clear as I would have liked is what exactly extinction rates are. I have a good idea, but nothing entirely concrete. Aside from that one question, I hope that the theories become reality to help conserve endangered species.

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