Thursday, March 1, 2012

Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frogs are found across the northern United States and southern Canada (with the exception of the far west coast). They were abundant, but their populations since the 1970s have declined. The reasons for this decline are obscure, but might involve a combination of "pollution, deforestation, and increasing water acidity" (National Geographic Society). Nevertheless, Leopard Frogs were common last summer in the Carleton College Arboretum.

Why care about Leopard Frogs? Besides the stock answer that they occupy an essential niche of the ecological system, Leopard Frogs produce enzymes that are being studied as cancer drugs for humans. One enzyme, ranpirnase is in clinical trials for lung cancers and another, amphinase, may be effective in combating brain tumors (Wikipedia).

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