My name is Ferdi the frog, and I am something humans call an indicator species. It means that I’m very sensitive to things that surround me. If there are any changes in my environment, like pollution or global warming, I am one of the first to be affected by it. These changes could make me sick, or even kill me! They could wipe out my friends and relatives, too. It’s nice to be good at something besides catching flies, but being an indicator species can also be a very dangerous job.
Amphibians Tell It Like It Is
You may already know that frogs are Amphibians, a class of animals that includes salamanders. Amphibians make good indicator species because we live in two environments, land and water, and have thin skin that we sometimes breathe through. Our thin skin can also absorb toxic chemicals, radiation, and diseases. If there are lots of frogs and other amphibians in a habitat, it means the ecosystem is healthy. If my buddies and I begin to disappear, it means our homes have become polluted or diseased and we have moved on to greener pastures.
A Frog is Like a Canary
Humans who study ecosystems like to watch me. This means I have no privacy, which sometimes makes my thin skin crawl. But then I heard that these scientists watch other kinds of indicator species like birds, bats, bees, and algae so I don’t mind it as much. I recently learned that coal miners used to take canaries and other birds into the mines with them. If there was poisonous gas in the tunnels, the sensitive canaries would keel over dead in their cages, and the miners would high tail it out of the mines.
Frogs Get No Respect
It’s no secret frogs are having a hard time of it. My family and I are constantly being kicked out of our habitat to make way for development. People come, factories come, and soon our waters are dirty and have nasty pollutants in them. Our froggy needs aren’t considered when humans make decisions about where to build homes and neighborhoods. Maybe we need to croak louder to remind people we’re out here!
Frogs Help Humans
Although frogs are tiny and shy, there is a lot we can offer the human species. We can show humans when an environmental crisis is about to take place, and be an early warning alarm for people to change their ways. I might even save some human lives while I’m at it…..just like the canary in the coal mine.