Molecular analysis helps scientists discover and describe a tiny new species of narrow-mouthed frog from the genus Chiasmocleis. The news species, Chiasmocleis quilombola is named after the quilombos — communities constituted by and used as refuges for slaves who had the brevity to escape in colonial Brazil.

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As a result of the Slide Fire, the burned areas of Oak Creek were at risk for ash-filled flooding due to monsoon rains. When ash blankets the habitat, the fish that the gartersnakes feed on aren’t able to survive. The ash covers rocks and small holes making it difficult for the snake to hide while hunting. Though the snakes can survive for some time without food, they will eventually starve to death. Now a team has undertaken to save the narrow-headed gartersnake in the fire’s aftermath.

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“Alaska wood frogs spend more time freezing and thawing outside than a steak does in your freezer, and the frog comes back to life in the spring in better shape than the steak,” said the lead author on a recent paper demonstrating that freeze tolerance in Alaska wood frogs is more extreme than previously thought.

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Paleontologists have recreated the cranial structure of a 308-million-year-old lizard-like vertebrate that could be the earliest example of a reptile and explain the origin of all vertebrates that belong to reptiles, birds and mammals.

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Researchers have used mRNA sequences, rather than DNA, to more efficiently create a reference database that can be used for proteomic analysis of Xenopus frogs. The researchers used their reference database to identify over 11,000 proteins from an unfertilized Xenopus egg and estimate the abundance of these proteins. The method outperformed comparison proteomic analyses based on a preliminary, unpublished Xenopus genome and other protein reference databases.

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A faster and more accurate way to test for infection with Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that is killing snakes in the Midwest and eastern United States, has been devised by researchers. The test also allows scientists to monitor the progression of the infection in living snakes. Researchers first took notice of Ophidiomyces in snakes in the mid-2000s. Today the fungus threatens the last remaining eastern massasauga rattlesnake population in Illinois and has been found to infect timber rattlesnakes, mud snakes, rat snakes, garter snakes, milk snakes, water snakes and racers in several states.

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A faster and more accurate way to test for infection with Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that is killing snakes in the Midwest and eastern United States, has been devised by researchers. The test also allows scientists to monitor the progression of the infection in living snakes. Researchers first took notice of Ophidiomyces in snakes in the mid-2000s. Today the fungus threatens the last remaining eastern massasauga rattlesnake population in Illinois and has been found to infect timber rattlesnakes, mud snakes, rat snakes, garter snakes, milk snakes, water snakes and racers in several states.

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A new study casts doubt on long-held suspicions that persistent organic pollutants in the environment make green turtle more susceptible to the virus that causes fibropapilomatosis, a disease that forms large benign tumors that can inhibit the animal’s sight, mobility and feeding ability.

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A key mechanism in the formation of the head in frogs has been explained by researchers. Previous studies had reported genes involved in head development. However, it still remained unclear how those genes interact with each other for head formation as a whole. By employing Next-Generation sequencing techniques, which provide scientists with massive amounts of DNA sequence data, this study has uncovered a genetic mechanism underlying head formation, which is one of the most important processes in animal development.

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Emerging fungal pathogens pose a greater threat to biodiversity than any other parasitic group, causing population declines of amphibians, bats, corals, bees and snakes. New research reveals that amphibians can acquire behavioral or immunological resistance to a deadly chytrid fungus implicated in global amphibian population declines.

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Amphibian declines and extinctions around the world have been linked to an emerging fungal disease called chytridiomycosis, but new research from shows that another pathogen, ranavirus, may also contribute. In a series of mathematical models, researchers showed that ranavirus, which causes severe hemorrhage of internal organs in frogs, could cause extinction of isolated populations of wood frogs if they are exposed to the virus every few years, a scenario that has been documented in wild populations.

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The common frog is one of the amphibians with the highest distribution in the Iberian Peninsula. It reproduces preferably in permanent areas of water where it comes into contact with the red swamp crayfish, which preys on its larvae. Research confirms that the larvae of these frogs have developed a defensive response to the invasive species.

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A frog’s jump is not as simple as it seems. Scientists have discovered that different species adopt different jumping styles depending on their environment.

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Key genes that help burrowing frogs avoid muscle wastage while they are dormant have been discovered by researchers. These genetic insights could help prevent muscle atrophy in bedridden human patients, or even astronauts. For most mammals, including humans, when muscles are inactive over a long period, they lose condition and waste away. However, some animals can remain dormant for several months and yet suffer minimal muscle damage, including green-striped burrowing frogs, the focus of this study.

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Key genes that help burrowing frogs avoid muscle wastage while they are dormant have been discovered by researchers. These genetic insights could help prevent muscle atrophy in bedridden human patients, or even astronauts. For most mammals, including humans, when muscles are inactive over a long period, they lose condition and waste away. However, some animals can remain dormant for several months and yet suffer minimal muscle damage, including green-striped burrowing frogs, the focus of this study.

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