One-Eyed Frog

Asked September 9, 2015, 2:11 PM EDT

I teach kindergarten out at Walterville Elementary. A student found this one-eyed frog on the playground today. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the side without the eye also appeared to be missing the socket. It hadn't had its eye poked out, but appears to have been born without one. We're wondering what kinds of environmental factors may have contributed to this condition. Also, if we find additional one-eyed critters, what might it mean?

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for your question, Sarah. We're still learning about how environmental perturbations affect the development of animals such as frogs. Anopthalmia (missing an eye) is one of several types of malformations that can occur. It's possible that the eye was injured early in the frog's life but it's also possible that something such as a pollutant or even an internal parasite, affected the frog early in its embryonic development. This publication http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/publications/fact_sheets/pdfs/frog.pdf doesn't immediately answer your question, but the introduction does give some good background information on the challenges facing us as we seek to understand these phenomena. Another resource to consider is Dr. Tiffany Garcia Tiffany.Garcia@oregonstate.edu who works with amphibians as model organisms in community ecology investigations. The other resource I would recommend is Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's wildlife health lab 866-968-2600. Our state wildlife management agency (ODFW) would be interested, especially when multiple animals display deformities are detected in a single or localized site.
I hope this information is helpful,
Dana