Home Archived April 13, 2016
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Malformations


      In certain parts of North America, particularly in the Midwest and northern New England, large numbers of malformed amphibians have been observed. Malformations involve missing or supernumerary digits, arms, or legs, missing eyes, and deformed jaws (Meteyer, 2000). Several hypotheses have been tested as causes, including parasite-induction during development (Morrell, 1999; Johnson and others, 2002), the effects of toxic chemicals (pesticides), and high levels of UV light; all have induced malformations under laboratory and field conditions. As with other environmental influences, however, it is possible that the malformations observed result from interactive causes. Much research is being directed toward understanding amphibian malformations.

       Fortunately, no malformations of amphibians have been found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The U.S. Geological Survey has developed a standardized protocol for reporting and handling malformed amphibians (http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/narcam/index.htm); should such individuals be found within the Park, these protocols should be followed.

Conclusions

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U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey

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