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The national distribution of information on the discovery of malformations in Minnesota frogs in 1995 stimulated collection and examination of newly metamorphosed frogs during 1996. By late summer and early fall of 1996, malformed frogs and toads were reported on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) lands in Vermont (Northeast, Region 5) and Minnesota (Midwest, Region 3). In response to these reports, biologists in USFWS Regions 3 and 5 conducted a survey, during the summer of 1997 to determine the distribution and type of malformations in frogs and toads on selected federal lands. Region 3 personnel surveyed 38 field stations at National Wildlife Refuges (NWR's) and Wetland Management Districts. Malformed frogs and toads were collected at 23 (61%) of the Region 3 sites. External malformations were detected in 110 of 6632 individuals representing seven of 13 frog species and one of three toad species examined for an overall of 1.7% affected (percentages for affected species ranged from 0.4-5.2%). In Region 5, 17 NWR's and one National Park were surveyed. Malformed frogs were collected at 10 (56%) of the Region 5 sites. External malformations were detected in 58 of 2267 individuals representing six of 11 frog species and one of two toad species examined for an overall total of 2.6% affected (percentages for affected species ranged from 1.8-15.6%). The majority of malformations observed in frogs and toads collected in Regions 3 and 5 were partially or completely missing hind limbs and digits (50%)or malformed hind limbs and digits (14%). A few individuals had an extra limb or toe, missing or malformed front limb, missing eye, or malformation of the mandible. Despite small sample sizes at some sites, malformations were confirmed to be present in eight species of frogs and two species of toads on Federal lands in USFWS Regions 3 and 5. Further study is needed to determine the extent and distribution of amphibian malformations in these Regions. Data from this study were provided to the national database on distribution of malformed amphibians.
Additional Publication Details
Field surveys of Midwestern and Northeastern Fish and Wildlife Service lands for the presence of abnormal frogs and toads