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New study points to agriculture in frog sexual abnormalities
Date:7/3/2008

forelimbs are thicker and stronger than those of their female counterparts, more of the intersex frogs only found in agricultural areas had thin, weak forearms. Also, intersexes had fewer "nuptial pads," areas of scrappy skin on their feet used to grip females during copulation.

Where a sex was clear, the male toads appeared by far the most affected. Normal males are brown, while females are mottled with brown stripes. However, males from agricultural areas were mottled, looking like females.

Internally, the more agricultural the sites, the more feminized the males' reproductive organs. Many had both ovaries and testes. Not only that, both the impacted males and the intersex frogs had less of the male hormone testosterone than normal males, suggesting diminished reproductive capabilities, Guillette said.

Guillette and McCoy said the study's results may have important implications not only for other wild species, but also for people.

"What we are finding in Bufo marinus might also occur in other animals, including other amphibian species and humans," McCoy said. "In fact, reproductive abnormalities are increasing in humans and these increases could partially be due to exposure to pesticides."


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Contact: Lou Guillette
ljg@zoo.ufl.edu
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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