Rana aurora

The red-legged frog is a resident of cool forest streams and treed wetlands. It is medium sized - the male measuring about 7 cm long and the female up to 10 cm long - and feeds on aquatic insects. Frogs are particularly sensitive to environmental pollution, since their moist skin can directly absorb toxic substances from the air and water, and to habitat loss, since they require a combination of clean water and intact terrestrial habitat to complete their lifecycles. As such, scientists often regard frogs and other amphibians as “indicator species”, like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, since their presence can indicate the health of the environment. A recent study indicates that 32% of amphibians in the world are threatened with extinction.

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©Image courtesy of L. Townsend

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