BENGALURU: Ever wondered what role amphibians play in human lives? They keep the insect population under control, which in turn ensures that human beings do not contract diseases, especially the ones that originate from agricultural produce. But this World Environment Day, experts have a word of caution. The population of frogs is on the decline and sadly there is not much data available to show the immediate direct impact.
Zoologists, herpetologists, taxonomists, experts and researchers from Karnataka and Maharashtra have undertaken a study to assess the impact of climate change on amphibians. Over the last two to three years, the erratic change in monsoon pattern has brought to light the negative effects on the breeding and reproduction cycles of frogs.
Noted frog expert K V Gururaja says that due to cyclones like Tauktae, Asani and other pre-monsoon showers, the egg-laying cycle of frogs advances, leading to change in the croaking cycle of the amphibian. Moreover, when sunny days increase during monsoon period, the eggs dry up fast. These changes have been observed among Common Toads and Malabar Tree Toad so far.
Prof Narahari Gramapurohit, Department of Zoology, Pune University, told The New Indian Express, “Unlike in other countries, there is little or no study available in India on the impact of climate change on frogs. Change in rainy season affects breeding among frogs as toads need water base. For the regular monsoon period (June-September), frogs get ready for reproduction from April.”
‘If rain erratic, frogs can’t reproduce’
“But if rain is erratic like in November- January, they cannot reproduce,” Prof Gramapurohit added.
Researchers have also found that increased use of herbicides and pesticides on crops is causing change in the gender of frogs. Gramapurohit said that the first-ever study on this in India is being done by his team.
“This is a matter of concern as frogs feed on the insects on agricultural crops.
So, if insects are killed by the use of harsh chemicals which is having an impact on the gender of frogs, an urgent need arises to see the impact on human beings. Frog hormonal system is 99 per cent similar to humans,” warned Dr Samadhan Krushna Phuge, Department of Zoology, Savitribai Phule Pune University. Researchers point out that frogs have seasonal breeding cycle and they help in controlling outbreak of epidemics. The prolonged dry spells, increased tourist invasion to streams and heat wave conditions are directly impacting human beings and environment.