The Western Ghats have been witnessing an unusual number of frogs with deformities

Scientists and public health experts are alarmed by the phenomenon, which they suspect to be symptomatic of underlying toxicity in the environment and the food chain. “Missing eyes, deformed hind legs, missing limbs, extra limbs, partial limbs, limbs that are bent or bony, and abnormally thin or weak limbs are some of the reported frog abnormalities in the Western ghats,” said Dr. S. Muralidharan from the Division of Ecotoxicology at Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History.

Steelhead stocks are rock-bottom in British Columbia

Steelhead anglers may have to start looking for another fish to catch. Four groups have released a joint statement sounding the alarm about the decline of steelhead numbers returning to B.C. rivers. The focal point of that concern is the Thompson River, a major tributary of the Fraser River. Where it once supported a thriving recreational steelhead fishery of 4,000 spawners in the mid-1980s, today the Thompson River has about 250 spawners projected for 2018.

Canadian fish stocks are at risk of collapse

Some fish stocks in Canada are at risk of collapse. Some estimates put the overall decline of marine populations at 50 per cent of levels in the 1970s, although the numbers vary depending on the species and its location. Oceana Canada, a scientific research and lobby group, just released its first audit of 159 separate marine fish stocks and found 26 in critical condition, 22 of those in Atlantic Canada.

Wild salmon populations in New Zealand show significant and alarming drops in numbers since about the mid-1990s

As wild salmon populations have declined dramatically, Fish and Game New Zealand (FGNZ) is hosting a symposium to discuss the problem. FGNZ councillor Matthew Hall, of Ashburton, said population surveys carried out every year, including in Otago rivers, had shown significant and alarming drops in numbers since about the mid-1990s. ''The New Zealand population of sea salmon in the last 10 years has been the lowest since they were introduced in the 1900s,'' Mr Hall said.

UK will back total ban on bee-harming pesticides, Michael Gove reveals

The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has revealed. The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees. It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him.

Sublethal doses of imidacloprid disrupt sexual communication and host finding in a parasitoid wasp

Neonicotinoids are widely used insecticides, but their use is subject of debate because of their detrimental effects on pollinators. Little is known about the effect of neonicotinoids on other beneficial insects such as parasitoid wasps, which serve as natural enemies and are crucial for ecosystem functioning. Here we show that sublethal doses of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid impair sexual communication and host finding in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. Depending on the dose, treated females were less responsive to the male sex pheromone or unable to use it as a cue at all.

Comparative ecotoxicity of imidacloprid and dinotefuran to aquatic insects in rice mesocosms

In this study, effects of two neonicotinoid insecticides, imidacloprid and dinotefuran, on aquatic insect assemblages were evaluated in experimental rice mesocosms. During the 5-month period of the rice-growing season, residual concentrations of imidacloprid were 5–10 times higher than those of dinotefuran in both soil and water. Imidacloprid treatment (10 kg/ha) reduced significantly the populations of, Crocothemis servilia mariannae and Lyriothemis pachygastra nymphs, whereas those of Orthetrum albistylum speciosum increased slightly throughout the experimental period.

Environmental pollution with neonicotinoids is a nearly perfect script for insect extermination

7 years ago I spoke out in favor of a ban on neonicotinoids. These are cumulative poisons without thresholds that contaminate entire areas of the country and, moreover, are only slowly degraded. It's a nearly perfect script for insect extermination. This also means that if neonicotinoids are banned, insect decline will not cease immediately, as it will take years for these substances to be removed from the environment. Therefore, we do not have much time left to turn the page. Any hesitation now can lead to the complete collapse of the ecosystem.

Emerging disease further jeopardizes North American frogs

A deadly amphibian disease called severe Perkinsea infections, or SPI, is the cause of many large-scale frog die-offs in the United States, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. Frogs and salamanders are currently among the most threatened groups of animals on the planet. The two most common frog diseases, chytridiomycosis and ranavirus infection , are linked to frog population declines worldwide. The new study suggests that that SPI is the third most common infectious disease of frogs.

The Lizards of Pennsylvania Depend on Insects

In Pennsylvania, there are 21 native species of snakes, 14 species of turtles and four species of lizards. Here's a description of the four lizards that are native to Pennsylvania. The northern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus hyacinthinus) is part of a group commonly known as spiny lizards. It grows to 4-7 inches in length, and spends much of its time in the branches of trees. Insects, and sometimes snails, make up the diet of the northern fence lizard. The species is found in open woodlands across the southern two-thirds of Pennsylvania.