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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in seachild_elf's LiveJournal:

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Friday, July 30th, 2010
10:34 pm
I'm pondering on making this journal friends-only or at least partly. I find I don't quite feel like writing about my life lately, apart from the occasional funny episode. On top of that, my life is not particularly eventful and many of the people for whom I made this journal to keep in touch with, have drifted away over the years. There just seems a lot less point in it, so even less point in keeping all this stuff public. Basically all I still do on LJ regularly is read up on interesting communities and a couple of people.

Current Mood: contemplative
Thursday, August 20th, 2009
9:19 pm
I've been much amused by the fact that there is a computer-game firm named Frogwares.

I wonder if I'm slightly biased to all things remotely related to frogs because I quite like their games.

Current Mood: amused
Thursday, May 28th, 2009
12:38 am
You know your mind works in strange ways, when you and an innocently looking squirrel hold a staring match through the kitchen window for a couple of minutes, and you then proclaim to the world: "That squirrel is up to something."

He just was.

Current Mood: cranky
Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
2:34 pm
Fun fact
There is apparently a dinosaur called the bambiraptor...

Definitely made my day!

Current Mood: amused
Thursday, February 12th, 2009
11:56 pm
Darwin Day

Today is the 200th birthday of a man who quite changed the way we look at the world, back in his time and even today. That man was Charles Darwin. You will find him featuring on a lot of blogs today. I wanted to write something to commemorate this day too, so I decided to pick something close to my heart. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Darwin’s Frog!

Darwin’s Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) is –naturally- named after the man who discovered it, Charles Darwin. He came across the amphibian during the equally famous Voyage of the Beagle.

This diurnal frog hails from southern Chile and Argentina where it can be found in forest streams, swamps and leaf litter on the forest floor. It’s a relatively small frog, about 2,5 to 3,5 cm. At least, small compared to the European frogs I’m used to. Males and females look alike, but females tend to be slightly larger.

It can either be green, as in the picture, or brown.  You can easily spot the camouflage trick the frog is relying on for its protection: a leaf-shaped frog will be harder to spot among many other leaf-shaped… leaves.  If a predator does see through the disguise, the frog will play dead, by throwing itself onto its back. The belly of the frog is white and black, possibly also as a deterrent to predation. A further distinct, visual aspect of Darwin’s Frog are the unwebbed front feet. Some of the toes on the hind feet usually are webbed.

The Darwin’s Frog has an interested take on raising its young: the tadpoles are carried around in the vocal sac of the male. Therefore the female lays only a small number of eggs, less than thirty, unlike many other anurans. The eggs are deposited in the leaf-litter and mommy then heads off never to be seen again.  Dad gets to become a single parent and is left with all the babysitting.

As soon as the male can spot movement in the eggs, he takes them into his mouth and places them in his vocal sac. As the tadpoles continue to develop while squatting in the vocal sac, dad’s throat visually grows thicker. Just think about what it would be like, having thirty squirming babies deposited on your vocal chords. The course of parenthood never did run smooth... After about fifty days the tadpoles reach metamorphosis, and dad throws them out of the house, into the wide world where they happily go about their business of bothering insects and other small invertebrates for dinner.

Darwin’s Frog is listed on the IUNC Red List of Threatened Species as ‘vulnerable’. Its total population is estimated to have declined more than 30%.  Some of the separate populations, both inside preserved areas and outside, have disappeared completely between surveys, where in other areas a visible density decline is also noted. The main cause of the decline of Darwin’s Frog is thought to be habitat loss and degradation caused by human activity. Climate change and diseases are thought to play a role as well in the species’ decline.

However, the fungal infection chytridiomycosis, that is blamed for the extinction and decline of many amphibian species around the world, has not been reported yet in Chile. Thank god for small miracles, I guess. But let’s not cry victory too soon. The Darwin’s Frog close cousin, and the only other member of the Rhinoderma-genus and Rhinodermatidae-family, the Chile’s Darwin’s frog (Rhinoderma rufum) is considered extinct by most since it hasn’t actually been seen for… well longer than I have been alive. Until its extinction can be confirmed, the Red List  gives it still as ‘critically endangered’. 



The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/19513

Vocal Sac-Brooding Frogs: Rhinodermatidae - Darwin's Frog (rhinoderma Darwinii): Species Account, http://animals.jrank.org/pages/127/Vocal-Sac-Brooding-Frogs-Rhinodermatidae-DARWIN-S-FROG-Rhinoderma-darwinii-SPECIES-ACCOUNT.html

300 Frogs, Chris Marrison, Grange Books, 2007

Current Mood: accomplished
Saturday, January 31st, 2009
11:14 am
The age-old dilemma...
So little wall left, so many things to hang up.

Current Mood: in two minds
Monday, January 19th, 2009
7:54 pm
We made use of the below-zero temperatures last week to clean out the freezer.

Curiously, in the process of shifting the food, we came across the sink plug from the bathroom upstairs that we have been missing for at least a few months now. Just lying suddenly on the ground.

No, we don't know where it came from either.

It's one of those inexplicable stories, I suppose.

Current Mood: amused
Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
10:08 pm
Something to make you smile
There is apparently a dinosaur that has been named the Irritator

This has so made my day.

Current Mood: amused
Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
9:28 pm
Six species of dragonfly and waterdamsel that have settled around our pond.

Five frogs that have been spotted more than once this summer.

Four species of amphibians that have colonised our garden.

Three people that are pouring over many books for a good name.

Two cats that have no idea what we're about to spring on them.

And one little, suspicious-looking, black kitten in a old shoebox in my room. (It wants to, it has a very nice pillow and blanket too but it prefers the cardboard box I use for paper-to-be-recycled.)

Current Mood: amused
Sunday, August 10th, 2008
3:11 pm
I think I'm going to stop buying books of Neil Gaiman.

After reading Good Omens, and already being a Pratchett-fan, I really wanted to like Gaiman's books. He is a good writer and clever, but his books are just too dark and creepy for me. The funny thing is that I knew this right after the first book, yet I've kept on buying them anyway. But I've got to think of the limited bookcase space and buying books that I know I won't read again seems rather pointless.
Thursday, June 19th, 2008
8:29 pm
I've learned there are few things as frustrating as trying to make an ill cat eat.

Not eating is not an option, damnit!

Current Mood: frustrated
Saturday, June 7th, 2008
1:11 pm
Life just sucks once in a while
Nothing interesting has happened in a while so no post. Life just goes on the way it does every month, sometimes good, often less so. And the real bad things... well I don't like writing about them since I don't know how to make them funny and beyond that there's really no incentive to go examining them any closer.

I just wish... nah, never mind.
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008
2:19 pm
As this is the Year of the Frog, and as I've named this LJ 'Froggy waters', I think I should talk a little more about well... frogs. So I was thinking of more linking to frog news, and maybe doing some odd frog profiles once in while as writing and research exercises. As much as I like frogs, I will be the first to admit I know far too little about them.

So let's start with this nice news from the blog of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The Panamanian golden frog is (as I might have mentioned earlier in this LJ) one of the many amphibian species threatened by the Chytrid fungus-infection. In fact the situation became that dramatic that the best solution was to collect all these brightly coloured frogs from the wild in an attempt to preserve this species in captivity so that maybe -hopefully- they can be released into the wild again in the future.

But it's nice to see some people are thinking further. Releasing or re-introducing them back into wild will solve nothing if their habitat is still infected with the deadly fungus. So a couple of zoos are looking into breeding frogs that are more resistant to the fungus.

The best bit of this (for me) is that there will be no messing with genetics just yet. They wish to select individual frogs that have a natural, higher production of antimicrobial peptides (AMP), and breed with those. The AMP's are compounds found in the skin of these frogs that also plays a part in their immune response system, so one can see why these could be important. It is hoped that the offspring will have more resistance to the fungal disease.

Of course, they're only in the first stage of the project yet, with identifying AMP-levels in the individual frogs. The rest and whether the project will even succeed is still far off. But it is the best news I've heard in a while.

Current Mood: grateful
Friday, February 29th, 2008
11:37 am
Leap Day!
Today is Leap Day, not just any Leap Day but Leap Day in the Year of the Frog.

I take it you can guess today's topic. ;)

Frogs, as you will know, are not just some of my favourite animals, but are in a bit of a tight spot this day and age. They suffer from habitat loss, pollution, a deadly fungus infection sweeping the globe and then some. To cut a long story short, a frightful number of them is facing extinction within our lifetime. A good deal of them have already croaked their last. (I have to say, despite this topic being rather grim, there are quite a number of puns available when writing about frog extinction...)

So 2008 has been named Year of the Frog by conservation organisations to highlight the frog crisis before they all gone off towards the Big Pond in the Sky. The numbers are dire: About 3000 frog species are threatened with extinction and that's about half of all known frog species today. 165 frog species believed to be extinct already. (numbers from Amphibian Ark website) For the Panamanian golden frog this is already a reality. Every frog they could find has been lifted from the wild, and put together in a holding facility while their own territory is over-run by a deadly Chytrid fungus.

So, this is my bit to spread the word.

Check out the website of Amphibian Ark. It's the organisation that aims at setting up breeding centers to maintain endangered frog population in captivity, in the event of their disapearance in the wild. (The logo from the site is also damn cute.) The Year of the Frog project is also supported by sir David Attenborough, a man I admire much and whose documentary series Life in Cold Blood about amphibians and reptiles is airing right now on BBC. Catch it if you can, it's breathtakingly good.

The Amphibian Ark website also has a petition to call for more action for the frogs. Please consider signing it, it costs nothing and it can do much good. Also, there's a blog aptly called Frog Matters that keeps up with the project.
Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
12:57 pm
Happy Darwin Day!

And now back to installing kitchens...

Current Mood: bouncy
Wednesday, November 21st, 2007
3:36 pm
Have you ever found yourself looking for the ctrl+F function is a nice but thick, and very much made of paper book?

I'm a bit embarrassed by it, frankly.
Friday, October 26th, 2007
11:46 pm
Your Vocabulary Score: B

You have a zealous love for the English language, and many find your vocabulary edifying.
Don't fret that you didn't get every word right, your vocabulary can be easily ameliorated!

Not bad for someone who's not a native English speaker, if I say so myself. I nicked this quiz from Scienceblogs. If you want to know after wards just what you had wrong, someone over there was nice enough to put all the answers in the comments.

Current Mood: accomplished
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
10:55 am
I am really, really sick of screws now...
Thursday, February 22nd, 2007
9:09 pm
To quote Weird Al Yankovic...

Now I'm being chased by some irate veloceraptors*,
Well, believe me... this has been one lousy day.**

*On the whole, maybe velociraptors wouldn't have been half as bad because they're really rather smaller than in the movies. The movie-raptor should have been called deinonychus, but I suppose that name isn't quite as catchy or easy to shorten.

**Okay, so maybe the bit about the veloceraptors isn't true, but the last part is.

Current Mood: bitchy
Tuesday, September 26th, 2006
10:36 am
Musing of the day
Frog heads and human necks don't really mix well, who knew?

That said, it was about time a frog appeared somewhere in my work.

Current Mood: impressed
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