Humans eat the scrotum frog to extinction

A team of experts have joined forces to try and save the scrotum frog from becoming extinct. One of the major threats is their consumption by humans. The scientific name is Telmatobius culeus. A better name is the Titicaca water frog.

Scrotum frog
Scrotum frog. Picture in the public domain.

They mainly live near Lake Titicaca, hence their better name. The name “scrotum frog”, an unfortunate name, comes from their appearance as you could imagine. They can grow up to 20 cm long from head to rump. Their main habitat covers the border between Peru and Bolivia over 12,400 feet above sea level and 3200 miles long.

As mentioned, they are being over-harvested for human consumption. Other threats are trout which feed on its tadpoles and, as usual, the destruction of their habitat by human activity either directly or indirectly.

Conservationists have been concerned about the endangerment of this species of frog for some time. The population has fallen by 80% from 1994 to 2004 according to the IUCN. In some parts of the lake the population has declined by 90%.

A project to evaluate the problem more closely was announced last Sunday by Bolivia’s Natural History Museum. It is backed by the Bolivian and Peruvian governments whose mission is to promote and conserve the Lake Titicaca Giant Frog.

The project is also supported by the United Nations Programme and the Global Environment Facility. The frogs help to measure the quality and health of the ecosystem and is therefore considered an “indicator species”.

In 2016 more than 10,000 frogs died suddenly. The experts don’t know why. The authorities noticed sludge and solid waste during an investigation indicating that sewage run-off may be to blame.

Scrotum frog

The scrotum frog is entirely aquatic and only found in the Lake Titicaca basin which includes rivers that flow into the lake and smaller connected lakes in the Andean highlands of Bolivia and Peru. In the late 1960s, Wikipedia tells us that Jacques Cousteau reported water frogs up to 2 feet in their outstretched length and weighing 1 kg. These were some of the largest exclusively aquatic frogs in the world.

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