'Frog'-quently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

The Life of Frogs and Toads
Amphibians in Captivity

The Anatomy of Frogs and Toads

Comparisons of Species

Malformed and Declining Amphibians
Unusual Frogs and Toads 
Endangered Amphibians 

(Photo of Western Chorus Frog.)


1. What is the difference between a deformation and a malformation?

Deformation is the process of disfiguring a part of the body that already exists, while malformation is the process of disrupting a normally formed organ or body part during the original stages of development. 

2. Is there anything being done to help the frogs? What and by whom?

Until the scientists know the answer there is not a lot that can be done except to continue studying the issue. However, by getting people interested in the issue and by having students involved in writing about it, people will become aware of the issue and about the problems facing frogs and our environment.

3. What are some additional organizations that are studying the malformed/declining amphibian issue?

In Minnesota, the Pollution Control Agency (PCA) is actively researching the issue. Nationally, the North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformations (NARCAM) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS) in Research Park, NC are involved in research. There are links to all of these places on our web site under Frog Resources.

4. Who are the major organizations working on experiments and what kind of conclusions do they hold based on the results of the experiments?

The major organizations are the Pollution Control Agency (PCA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS), and some universities. There are many theories about what is causing the deformities/declines in amphibian populations. For example, the PCA and NIEHS believe it is something in the water; the EPA believe that UV-B is the main culprit; and some researchers at a university in California believe that retinoic acid, a componenet of Methoprene (a mosquito spray), is the main cause of malformities.

5. What are some of the possible causes of the malformed and declining amphibian populations?

Some of the causes that researchers are studying include: 

    -an increase in ultra-violet radiation 
    -loss of important habitat 
    -water pollution from chemicals, such as pesticides and fertilizers 
    -acid rain 
    -parasites and viruses 

6. What should I do if I find a malformed frog or toad? 

A) Observe and record the abnormalities, but leave the frog or toad where you found it. 
B) Report it to your state PCA (Pollution Control Agency), local wildlife staff, or to the North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformations (NARCAM).
D) If in Minnesota, report it to the Rich Baker at the DNR, Minnesota Frog and Toad Survey, MNDNR Nongame Research Box 25, DNR Building, 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN 55155-4025

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1. Do all frogs and toads eat only insects?

No. As tadpoles, frogs and toads can be both herbivores (plant eating) and carnivores (meat eating). As adults, frogs and toads are carnivores, eating insects. But, not all frogs and toads eat only insects. The Spiny Reed frog is an african frog that is known to prey on the eggs of members of its own species. This is called heterocannibalism. Click here for more information on the Spiny Reed frog. 

2. If a frog needs water to live, how can a frog live in the desert?

The Water-holding Frog from South Australia lives in the desert and spends most of its time underground. Because the desert is very dry, the frog seals itself in a water-proof cocoon it makes from layers of shed skin. Click here for more information on the Water-holding Frog.

3. Do all frogs metamorph in the water of lakes and ponds?

No. The Gastric Brooding Frog actually incubates its young inside its stomach. The young frogs emerge when they have developed past the tadpole stage. Click here for more information on the Gastric Brooding Frog.

4. Is there really a Flying Frog?

Yes, the Flying Frog (Polypedates dennysi) lives in the forests of Southeast Asia. It doesn't really fly, it actually jumps from tree to tree. The Flying Frog has large suction cups on its toes that enable it to stick to the bark and leaves of the tropical trees, and webbed feet that act as parachutes as it falls from tree to tree.

5. How did the Giant Waxy Tree Frog get its name?

The Giant Waxy Tree Frog's name was derived because the frog produces a waxy substance that helps it retain moisture. It lives high in the rainforest canopy where humidity levels may get relatively low.

6. What's the most poisonous frog?

The most toxic of all the world's poisonous frogs is the Phylobates aurotaenia, the gold banded arrow-poison frog. With this species it would be necessary only to rub an arrow tip on the skin of an adult frog to gather enough poison to instantly kill most prey or enemies. Click here for more information.

7. Have frogs and toads really fallen out of the sky?

There are historical accounts of frogs falling from the sky, but these events are accompanied by terrific wind storms. Click here for more information.

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Choose from these other areas:
Amphibian Facts
MN Frogs and Toads
Global Amphibian Declines
Malformed Amphibians
MN Frog Watch
Surveying Populations
Malformed Amphibian Photos
Student and School Reports



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