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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Killer Frog Found in Golden Gate Park

Posted By on Tue, May 14, 2013 at 7:14 AM

Now try to make him sing that stupid rainbow song

Go ahead and add killer frog to the list of bewitching things you might find in Golden Gate Park.

Researchers at Stanford University tested 23 African clawed frogs and identified three that are carrying a deadly infection, including one found in Golden Gate Park. The other two that tested positive were found in San Diego.

Bay City News reports that an African clawed frog taken from Lily Pond in Golden Gate Park tested positive for a fungal pathogen that is responsible for the decline or extinction of about 200 amphibian species worldwide, the report said.

The pathogen, known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatis, is transmitted through the water and the fungal spores that find their way into the animals' skin, causing skin thickening, electrolyte imbalance, and brain swelling, said Sherril Green, a professor at Stanford and the senior author of the report.

The good news is they won't kill you or your spouse or or even your family dog (that we know of), but they will infect other pond animals, if they don't eat them first.

However, it's still distressing news since the city had tried hard, really hard, over the last decade to eliminate the voracious critters that had populated Golden Gate pond by the hundreds. The hungry frogs were threatening the environment as they consumed the pond's other frogs and fish, and even each other.

Now here's an odd factoid: The deadly frogs were brought to the United States in the early 20th century for pregnancy testing. Back in the1920s, medical researchers learned that if they injected the frogs with the urine from pregnant women, it would make them ovulate (the frogs, not the women). So hospitals started using that method to determine if women were pregnant, the report said.

This woman-frog practice was mostly halted in the 1970s and some of the frogs were released into the wild.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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