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Popular Pesticides Kill Frogs Outright

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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05 Feb 2013 at 2:21pm
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2013 at 4:16pm
Shocking; so if its not a fungus such as chytrid which kills them, it will be a fungicide instead...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MancD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2013 at 11:06am
If you come across mass mortality incidents which you suspect are a result of pesticides/herbicides/fungicides you can report this to the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme. It's strictly related to pesticides, so we do need a strong link to pesticide use (such as someone has seen a field beings sprayed at a time consistent with the deaths) and we also need something to sample. It's a free service.
 
It isn't amphibian specific, it includes all widlife, companion animals, and also beneficial invertebrates (bees mainly).
 
More info below:
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2013 at 11:13am
With the sort of evidence being presented here would not a widespread approach to the issue be required rather than fire fighting after the event? Though it is useful to know about the scheme it seems a bit too late for the animals if the evidence exists to prove anything, as they would already be dead.

I have long thought the common frog was being completely eradicated from East Anglia due to farming practices. It comes as little surprise to me that the chemicals sprayed on fields have been directly killing the adult animals.


Edited by GemmaJF - 06 Feb 2013 at 11:14am
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MancD View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MancD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2013 at 12:02pm

In many respects, yes. Pesticides have to go through a strict approval process before they can be brought to market to make sure that they are humane (as much as they can be) to their target species, don't persist in the environment and aren't a risk to human health etc. Once approved they must be used in accordance with the statutory conditions of use. If you have a tub of slug pellets you'll see a black box requiring them to be used in a certain way so you can't leave a pile of pellets in your garden that could indiscriminately kill anything, they have to be scattered so that it would be impossible for a dog to pick up enough to cause it harm for example.

The scheme's main purpose is to identify products that do cause harm to wildlife despite the product being used in the way it should. Fortunately, these cases are very rare. The vast majority of cases are either deaths being caused by misuse of pesticides or deliberate abuse of the products to kill animals.
 
Not looked at the research in detail, but I would expect that the highest use of these products would be in intensive agricultural environments that are suboptimal for amphibians. Spraying would largely be during the day whereas amphibian movements would be at night, and use of pesticides would probably reduce the amount of prey available making the area less suitable as a foraging area. Leaching of chemicals into waterbodies during the breeding season is probably a bigger issue (hence why there are restrictions in use of products near to waterbodies).
 
Interesting subject though, and if you do see anything strange do report it.
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2013 at 2:32pm
When I use to actually see common frogs locally (Suffolk where I grew up rather than Essex where I live now), the adults were widely dispersed in grasslands, often seen at field margins etc. They were also surprisingly diurnal in their habits whilst in their terrestrial stage. I think at one time they may have been quite widespread in arable fields in the past. Then again there were far more water bodies in the countryside then too.

What the research is pointing at is that the chemicals are lethal to adult animals at levels far below the recommended usage. I would have thought this might provoke investigation of banning the use of them, particularly considering these chemicals tend to spread to gardens in the wind, hedgerows etc and other neighbouring land is also often affected.


Edited by GemmaJF - 06 Feb 2013 at 5:37pm
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Robert V View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2013 at 6:28pm

Very sad.

They said. "According to our knowledge, no significant impact on amphibian populations has been reported despite the widespread and global use of the fungicide pyraclostrobin."
 
Could that be because all of the frogs are dead!!!!???? Why include the rider "according to our knowledge" if it wasn't suspected?
 
That would mean that any potential migration corridor through cultivated fields such as hedgerows are death traps and are not therefore migration corridors... This is why so many populations are becoming splintered.
 
Why is it Gemma that there are so few of us that give a sh*t?
 
R
 
RobV
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chris Monk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2013 at 10:22pm
Lots of research has shown that amphibians, particularly common toad and great crested newt forage some way out into intensive arable fields at night, so even if they aren't present during the actual spraying they could easily come into contact with spray residues a short time later.
Chris

Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group

www.derbyshirearg.co.uk

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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2013 at 10:30am
I agree with the points above, 

I would not rule out finding amphibians in arable fields at all. I've also found very high concentrations at field margins of recently ploughed fields, which would suggest they act as a dispersal barrier for a while, but the animals do move through them at some point when the vegetation is green and growing. (Just the time when the farmers start to mix up the chemicals no doubt)

The common frog is by far our most diurnal and mobile amphibian (though less tolerant of dry conditions than GCN/Common Toads). However the adults are 'somewhere' during the summer and autumn months and that somewhere does include grasslands from my observations, so I would expect to find them using arable fields and margins for sure, both for dispersal and foraging and have in the distant past by chance observed them in such environments.


It seems I've been bleating on for years about a massive decline in Common Frogs in the wider countryside in East Anglia. Now we have a clear mechanism for what may have been causing it.

Though it appears they are not glamorous enough to warrant much attention. Unlike Pool Frogs/GCN which get a lot of attention. I have even seen some cases where good Common Frog ponds were 'improved' for GCN in mitigation schemes, effectively wiping out the frog population in the process, both by altering the pond structure and by encouraging predatory newts.

I hate to think it but we may well look back and see one of our most 'common' herps was the one that suffered the most devastating declines in the intensively farmed areas of the country. Simply because nobody was paying much attention to them. What a real pity that would be.

PS Rob, I'm still recovering from one of the worst bugs I've ever had the misfortune to contract, over 8 weeks on and now and on the fourth course of antibiotics - still spring  will be here soon! Hope you are well and you don't have too many 'winter management' horrors to discover this year.





Edited by GemmaJF - 07 Feb 2013 at 10:34am
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Robert V View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2013 at 5:20pm

Hi Gemma,

Sorry to hear you've been rough, four courses of antibiotics! Sounds like pneumonia!

On one of the few dry days we had at the beginning of the year i went for a wlk over EF and I could hear the drone of buzz saws in the not too distant distance, but I couldn't face going to find out what else could be cut down...

Interesting what you say about frogs and fields, as I#ve never checked cultivated fields for dead or dying frogs, never, ever... But I will now. Explains a lot I think, especially the inexplicable reductions in numbers. About twenty five years ago they used to be hopping everywhere on a wet summers day, both them and Rousells bush crickets... I wonder if the Rousells are similarly affected, I suppose as were talking insectisides they would be.

R
RobV
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