Caudata.org: Newts and Salamanders Portal

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!
Did you know that registered users see fewer ads? Register today!

Book Review: In Search of the Golden Frog (Crump)

Abrahm

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
1,462
Reaction score
45
Location
Saint Paul, MN
Title: In Search of the Golden Frog
Author: Marty Crump
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Year of Publication: 2000
Pages: 270

There is no care information in this book. There's very little science on the biology, ecology or behavior of amphibians. There's nary a big, scientific word to be seen. What you will find within these pages are the experiences of one woman in the tropics as she grows from pig-tailed undergraduate to veteran PhD amphibian field biologist with a husband and children. Mrs. Crump details her trials and tribulations as a field worker; from the minor discomforts of sleeping arrangements and foods to the major issues of amphibian declines and human natives in trouble.

The book begins with Marty Crump describing her youth and love of animals and the serendipity that resulted in her being a herpetologist; they were the only department in natural history that had an interesting job opening. Her mentor from the beginning is William Duellman, a rather famous herpetologist who invited her on her first field expedition to Ecuador. This was the only one that focused on salamanders. She writes of the problems of showering and the tadpoles and insects that would frequently drain on her through the sluice, the lack of color or taste in their food, parties attended in musty dresses and moldy shoes.

More important are the nights in the forest. The elusive bolittoglossine salamanders that she searches for almost in vain. There are encounters with deadly fer de lance vipers, electric eels and quicksand. There are hundreds of amphibians where she is at, in fact it was one of the most diverse places in the world with about 170 species in several square mile area. She even lets go a few of the more famous field herpetologist pranks as she becomes the butt of a few jokes.

The book continues on in this vein for many different field expeditions to places like Argentina, Monte Verde and returns to Ecuador. While there are many triumphs in her research there are also many failures. Her site in Ecuador begins to degrade and species are lost as loggers and oil companies move in to harness the natural resources. During her time in Monte Verde she becomes one of the last people to see the golden toad, Bufo periglenes alive. She witnesses their amazing breeding ritual as hundreds of day glow orange frogs emerge from the ground and congregate around puddles the size of a kitchen sink to mate and breed. This is the only time of the year the frogs are visible as they are believed to live underground. She also watches all but 29 tadpoles die out of thousands. Repeated trips over the years to the mountain top elfin cloud forest reveal one toad and then none as the animal disappeared nearly overnight.

Marty Crump also writes of the hardships of raising a family in the field. Her children help her with experiments and even run their own. Her husband, an ornithologist, is also in the field with her. There are bad days and good days with the family. There are earlier stories of a failed romance with a young Ecuadorian, of helping native tribes to survive in the world and maintain their way of life and the cultures of all the various places she has been.

In Search of the Golden Frog is an exciting travelogue, field journal and personal epic. It's a glimpse into the life of a field biologist that allows you to see the world as wondrous, amazing and in danger all while being intimate and personal. She invites you to find your own Golden Frog, the animal of legend that bequeaths happiness as long as you hold it.
 

Otterwoman

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 13, 2006
Messages
6,619
Reaction score
86
Location
Wappingers Falls, NY
This sounds like a fun book! Though it must have been depressing for her to see the habitat she studied
whither away.

She also watches all but 29 tadpoles die out of thousands.

What happened? Was that because of the loggers? I cry easily when I read or watch a sad movie.
But I think I'll add this to my reading list. Thanks, Abrahm!
 

Abrahm

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
1,462
Reaction score
45
Location
Saint Paul, MN
This sounds like a fun book! Though it must have been depressing for her to see the habitat she studied
whither away.



What happened? Was that because of the loggers? I cry easily when I read or watch a sad movie.
But I think I'll add this to my reading list. Thanks, Abrahm!

It's really quite fun despite the sometimes depressing subject matter. The tadpoles all died because their breeding pools dried up much faster than normal due to El Nino. Nobody knows exactly what happened to the rest of the golden toads.
 
General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
  • wnorman293:
    Hi, how do you delete a post?
    +1
    Unlike
  • blubford:
    you dont
    +1
    Unlike
  • blubford:
    just kidding but i think there should be an option for it on your profile mabye
    +1
    Unlike
  • ipsoslolly:
    Hi guys my axolotl has not used his back legs since late Tuesday night,is this normal . He back half keeps floating up the way
    +1
    Unlike
  • blubford:
    that doesnt sound good
    +1
    Unlike
  • bearbear_13:
    Is it normal for my axie to eat every day? He’s overly hungry 😛
    +1
    Unlike
  • Dr. Phil:
    I'm new here but do I detect a bit of sarcasm in these comments? Ya'll sound like a fine bunch to me!
    +1
    Unlike
  • axolotl nerd:
    oh yes we’re all very sarcastic
    +1
    Unlike
  • Jokerjay:
    My son and I have been looking for a water dog/tiger salamander for quite some time now with no luck has anybody know how or where to find any
    +1
    Unlike
  • Jokerjay:
    @axolotl nerd, where can I find waterdogs or tiger salamanders my son has wanted one for a long time and I've been searching high and low with no luck
    +1
    Unlike
  • xxianxx:
    @Jokerjay, its a good idea to tell people where you are from. This is an international group. I have eastern tigers, im in the uk.
    +1
    Unlike
  • axolotl nerd:
    @Jokerjay, as in water dogs do you mean axolotls? i suggest very heavy research and a fully cycled tank before even considering purchasing one
    +1
    Unlike
  • bearbear_13:
    Axolotls are amazing until they get sick and then they’re a pain in the backside to treat - I recently lost two axolotls due to unknown causes
    +1
    Unlike
  • KonaGoldAquatics:
    Anyone from the us? Looking for at least one or two axolotls for me and my son to have our own at-home project together.
    +1
    Unlike
  • axolotl nerd:
    i highly recommend “buyanaxolotl.com”- ive purchased from them and received a beautiful animal for relatively cheap, in great condition, and excellent shipping precautions. the breeders are a couple living in georgia (i believe, don’t quite remember) and they’re fantastic. sometimes their website contact page doesn’t work, so i’d probably try just emailing them. good luck and happy hunting!
    +1
    Unlike
  • blubford:
    do those aquarium fans work well for axolotls
    +1
    Unlike
  • Sheryl Fraser:
    My little guy got stuck in the filter yesterday. His back leg is red. Will this heal
    +1
    Unlike
  • Chat Bot:
    Z-One has left the room.
    +1
    Unlike
  • KonaGoldAquatics:
    Any recommendations on a water chiller for a 10gallon but will work for a 20gal when I decide to upgrade?
    +1
    Unlike
  • Tinc Tank:
    Anybody working with and breeding Salamandra salamandra salamandra?
    +2
    Unlike
  • blubford:
    heh
    +1
    Unlike
  • Alexmcc:
    Hi all I'm new here I'm just looking some advise on cycle witch is currently driving me insane . So we are week 8 I'm dosing daily with 4pp of amonia and for the last week has been dropping to zero witch I no is good. But my question is my nitrites are sitting at between 0.50 and 1.0 PM and nitrates are between 10 and 20 and neither of these seem to be dropping. I have done 2 40% water changes a few days ago and no change the only thing I can think of is I didnt use the seachem stability stuff which I have now ordered but surely that shouldn't have much difference this far into cycling
    +1
    Unlike
  • ytz13513:
    Dropping ammonia with rising nitrate and nitrite is good. It means the nitrifying bacteria is working. You just have to remove the nitrate from the water doing water changes. The level of nitrates is high and the nitrate is also high. The nitrite will be converted to nitrate using the beneficial bacteria and you can add them using quick start or allowing them to naturally grow in the tank. The latter option will take longer. The nitrate can be used by plants, so live plants can decrease the levels, but I would do a water change to get the nitrate at a level that is lower than 5 ppm. 5ppm of nitrate is natural and a good place.
    +1
    Unlike
  • EvankingM:
    New here. hope this is the right place to post my question. I had 27 axolotyls aged 2-3 months old. main food has been finely chopped up bloodworms. no problems. I decided to introduce earthworms from my earthworm compost bin for variety. I finely chopped up 4 small earthworms and fed them to the babies. Within an hour 20 of the babies were dead. The remaining 7 (the smaller babies) survived and are now fine on bloodworms. Any ideas why the chopped up earthworms killed many of the babies?
    +1
    Unlike
  • Chat Bot:
    Lyv3wyr3 has left the room.
    +1
    Unlike
    Chat Bot: Lyv3wyr3 has left the room. +1
    Top