Friday, 11 September 2015

Why are these male green frogs suddenly turning into females?

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

by Chuck Bednar

These male green frogs are reportedly becoming more feminine due to exposure to estrogen in suburban ponds, scientists at Yale University report in a new Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study.

According to Slashgear and United Press International (UPI), the authors of the paper sampled green frogs (Rana clamitans) from 21 ponds in Connecticut. Not only did they find abnormally high numbers of females living in ponds located in the suburbs, but they also discovered that the males in those populations tended to have intersex characteristics.

Lead author Max Lambert, a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, suggested that higher levels of estrogen in the water could be turning male green frogs into female by disrupting their endocrine systems. The ponds in question, the authors said, contained high levels of the chemicals called phytoestrogens.

Regular, everyday landscaping may be to blame

Phytoestrogens are estrogenic chemicals produced by plants, and Lambert explained in a press release that clovers and some other types of plants commonly found in lawns naturally produce these substances. In other words, simple landscaping may be the source of the contamination.

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