The next host in the life cycle of a parasite that’s spreading into Canada is resulting in missing limbs and other deformities in frogs and other amphibians.
These extra or twisted limbs and skin webbing deformities disable young frogs so they are not adept at escaping predators such as birds.
Folks are invited to come out and hear about the biology of this phenomenon, and how it threatens the survival of amphibian populations.
A free presentation will be held in Williams Lake at the Scout Island Nature House on Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m., sponsored by the Williams Lake Field Naturalists.
Scout Island Nature Centre co-ordinator Jenny Noble says 100 Mile House residents frequently travel northward for its speakers and film events, and encourages more to give it a whirl.
The upcoming presentation about frog parasites will feature guest speaker Corey Roberts-Reynolds, a Master’s student in Environmental Studies at Thompson Rivers University.
Noble says over the past two years, the focus of Roberts-Reynolds’ work has been studying the Pacific Tree Frog and the Spotted Frog at Isobel Lake near Kamloops.
His newly-published paper describes the first time this parasite has been found in Canadian amphibians and, more importantly, the first time it has caused high levels of deformities north of the border.
Roberts-Reynolds says the problem hasn’t yet been confirmed in the Cariboo, but notes that nobody has looked for it.
“I plan on making a thorough search this summer. This parasite is distributed in bird feces, and many bird migration routes pass through the Cariboo, so it would be strange if it wasn’t there.”
Scout Island Nature Centre is located on the west end of Williams Lake at 1305 A Borland Rd. off South Mackenzie Avenue. It is a nature sanctuary and park area comprising two islands connected to the mainland by a vehicle causeway.
The Nature House is just to the right at the end of the causeway, and is closed to the public except for nature programs such as this, which offer a chance to visit this unique facility.
There is generally a family event the last Saturday of each month, or you can book a program for your class or community group by calling 1-250-398-8532 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the website at www.scoutislandnaturecentre.ca.