Pesticides could wipe out frogs by turning them female


perpetual student
Staff member
Think of what it does to your hormone balance.

A widely used pesticide could be placing frog populations in danger by diminishing their ability to reproduce properly. Not only does exposure to the chemical linuron – a potato herbicide – reduce male frog fertility, it skews the sex ratios of growing tadpoles significantly towards females. The devastation pesticides have caused to insect populations has been well documented, with German scientists warning of an “ecological Armageddon” when they found numbers had plummeted by 75 per cent in the country’s nature reserves. Knock-on effects further up the food chain are thought to be behind the disappearance of many bird species from the European countryside. But pesticides can have toxic effects on other animals too, and there has been a distinct lack of research into their effects on amphibians. To improve this situation, ecotoxicologist Dr Cecilia Berg of the University of Uppsala and a team of ... researchers set out to investigate the effects of linuron in the West African clawed frog. They found that the tadpoles grew ovaries substantially more than they grew testicles, an effect the team attributed to the endocrine disrupting – or hormone disrupting – properties of linuron, which could hinder production of testosterone. The male frogs exposed to the chemicals as tadpoles were less fertile and had certain feminine characteristics. While linuron is not licensed for use in the UK ... it is widely used in other parts of the European Union (EU) and North America.