Posted by: r.m. | October 30, 2013

keep the frogs (get rid of the Princes)

Disney moves have told us again and again: kiss that frog, transform him into a Prince.  But why?  Who is to say that a Prince is better than a frog? Why kiss a frog to make him into a Prince? Why transform an essential pillar of ecology into a symbol of royalty and patriarchy and wealth inequity?

Keep the frogs. Get rid of the Princes (and all their royal entourage and the foolish, sexist Disney stories). But Keep the frogs!

They are  “An unexpectedly vital part of the ecology

“Frogs and toads are an unobtrusive but vital part of the ecology, and their loss contributes to the appalling modern phenomenon that conservationists are now encountering everywhere: “trophic cascade”.


Read the full article here




  1. You never really consider the significance of frogs when you think about the planet. Other than the fact that they are one of the most fascinating (and beautiful) species, they paly a huge role: they carry the fate of many (including us) on their tiny little shoulders (metaphorically speaking).
    Culture (folklore, particularly) really affects the way we view other creatures, like snakes, bats, cockroaches , lizards, mice, rats, slugs, sharks, spiders, wolves (which, ironically, our loyal dogs are descendants of, and would still be wolves if not for selective breeding by humans) and many others. We are just beginning to realize the impact of one species on the entire planet.

  2. The human impact on the course of nature never fails to surprise me. One might never realize how crucial a role an individual plays in lives of other species and not just their own. I really enjoyed how the writer began the article by explaining how frogs have taken central roles in poems and children’s books but now face grave dangers on the hands of the people who have made them an important part of their literature. I was completely taken aback when I read just how many species of frogs exist in the world and how well adapted they are to several environmental conditions. When the writer explained the trophic cascade, the important role of frogs in the life cycle of nine other species in that particular forest became apparent. All other animals in this delicate balance have lost many necessary conditions for survival that were previously provided by the frogs themselves. This horrible effect raises many questions concerning possible solutions for the maintenance of such important creatures. It also makes us wonder about how the possible extinction of frogs can effect species on a global scale. If their absence can wreck havoc on a single community in a forest in South Africa, how will their absence reflect on the entire biosphere?

  3. The disappointing “trophic cascade” revealed here in the case of the frogs and many other cases clarifies how tightly sealed the chain of life is. One could vivdly point out the dramatic alterations in ecosystem structure once a certain species (or animal) becomes affected. A good point in this article is that it stated not only how frogs are decreasing in number due to human action(shooting of pigs), but it also showed the natural(disease caused) causes of their deaths. The instigation of this article was appealing when the author mentioned the link between frogs and fairy tales. Another idea that captivated me was the role of frogs in “protecting” the monkeys and reducing their risk of getting infected by the parasite. This by itself divulged the crucial role of frogs in the environment; a role that I never thought about. What I would like to know more about this topic is the origin of the two diseases affecting the frogs. This can be helpful in preventing their extinction. What if these diseases are related to some other species, not necessarily frogs?

  4. I found this article really fascinating, I never did imagine the effect of one little animal on many other animals and also the environment. Monkeys, lizards, mango-eating ants, wasps , owls, mosquitoes, wild pigs, mango trees and some microbial parasite are all victims of the drastic decrease in frog numbers. This article did clarify how one part an ecosystem can influence on another, and the other can in turn affect another and so on. It’s truly a cycle, mess with one component of this cycle and we’ll have to suffer from the drastic consequences. Fortunately, we have scientists and observers that enlighten us about these changes and post them in the media for us to acknowledge this crisis and spread the news. I can go on and talk about how much important frogs are, but instead each person after reading this article should really consider informing people about frogs’ importance, as for I’m sure few really know how essential frogs are. If not, we might have to think about the serious repercussions of this decrease of frog number and how it might affect life as we know it.

  5. This kind of cascades is happening not only with frogs…Eventually every living part of nature is in chain with another living organism; one is dependent of other species and that was always the case beginning from the oxygen we breathe that is provided by photosynthesis of the plants. It is not news that Man, by his selfishness, is defying the way nature works…Like the others, I did not know the importance of frogs for our ecosystem but sadly it hard to beleive than anyone would stop killing pigs for their meat only because 9 species became 3…Sadly, to the people who hunt, this is the least of their concern.

  6. BIOL207
    Nothing lingers by chance on the fascinating planet we live in. A perfect harmony keeps us online with mother nature and with what she has to offer, with ourselves and with the other creatures eering relentlessly on it’s surface. It’s really breathtaking, though, this bound that links us with our surrounding, therefore forming a well-knit ecosystem which relies on the mutual interactions of the different constituants. Every species in extinction means a new great danger that threatens our dear home, and this text shows us that peopleare finally awakening from the long hibernation of ingenuousness. We are now aware of the full impact, the full aftermath of losing the frogs and toads which are obviously essential to the well-being of the ecosystem. That’s why one should engage a revolutionary state against the crimes humans create and engender with each passing day, a state that makes one able to defend his land, by respecting the laws of nature, and it’s creatures.

  7. BioL207 A1210451 Jad Ghantous
    Frogs simply are such astounding creatures and I have never thought of their massive role in keeping the mosquito populations in check.It is amazing how such a small animal can have such great role in the environment and without the frog there would be a collapsing in the ecological structure of the species that depend on it. Frogs like all living creatures should be protected in order to protect to the ecosystem as a whole.

  8. Human being, unlike animals, kills not only to survive in this world but also to satisfy their own ego. By doing so, he is affecting negatively other species on planet earth . As we can see in this article killing only pigs lead to the extinction of six other species, so what about the result of the huge number of other victims everyday. In fact, human activities are destroying species which will disturb the whole ecosystem; and eventually humans will be the most influenced with such actions. Therefore, there should be more organised movements preventing animal killing in these numbers and severe penalties for animal criminals.

  9. The article touches on a very important aspect which is the false attitudes children would grow from cartoons that do not engulf the environmental aspect in it. The depiction of the frog as the lower side whereas the prince as the higher one is a vivid example. Frogs are needed to maintain the stability and wellbeing of our whole ecosystem as they feed on insects not allowing them to overpopulate and at the same time serving themselves as food for other animals. The prince on the other hand is the inequality by itself and such an idea like the one drawn in this scene is rather absurd.

  10. Aida Metri BIOL207

    Disney actually created a movie called “The Princess and The Frog” where the girl kisses the frog but instead of the frog transforming, she’s the one who turns into a frog. By the end of the movie they actually realize how fascinating frogs are and stop trying to find a way to turn back human but happily accept the fact that they are frogs. However, they do change back into humans during the finally.

    In the world we live in there is harmony, and like the brick example, we can’t wipe out a species and expect the world to continue in its perfect peaceful fashion. Decrease in frog numbers affect so many living things, some of which are: monkeys, lizards, mango-eating ants, wasps , owls, mosquitoes, wild pigs, mango trees and some microbial parasite. These will eventually harm the human race, especially when all we have left are mosquitoes.

    Frogs protect monkeys and they also protect us. We should appreciate this by helping them grow in number, not towards extinction. Frogs are not shown as the magical creatures they are in most Disney films which is wrong since it gives children the wrong idea about their natural environment.
    Hopefully we will find a way to save these magnificent creatures and start moving in the correct path of saving our earth.

  11. Aida Metri BIOL207

    Just to comment on the title, it’s something Disney should take into consideration. Putting princes in every children movie they make actually gives children they wrong idea about life, princes don’t exist but frogs do. If instead of the fiction and unrealistic approaches they use in movies by using happily ever afters of princes, they use the environment and showed children how amazing it could be, we could have a generation of children appreciating the natural world and everything in it more and more.

  12. what brought me here was the title. the disney in me was curious to see how you would connect it to science and the real world. i was not disappointed. the importance of the role of every organism in our ecosystem is so remarkable and yet so often ignored. the way only the hunting of wild pigs affected so many animals and plants in a cascade is remarkable. when we as people find a sudden abundance of wasps mosquitoes and their parasites we try to solve it instead of finding its root. so out of ignorance of the subject ecology and the harmony that was interrupted, people will only try to eliminate the insects instead of following the cycle backwards and discovering that its the killing of wild pigs that lead to this. so this article made me aware of a problem in the way we humans think and how wrong we normally approach a problem.
    this topic also raises a rather off-topic question; would anyone have even noticed this disappearance of frogs if insects weren’t annoying us humans? and this is a frightening question because that would mean we would only find out about a disappearance if and only if it affected the species homo sapiens (which i personally find selfish of us knowing we share this planet with so many other species). so considering this, how many other sub-species are we potentially endangering without even realizing it?

  13. ”Now men kill off the pigs. No more puddles – so the frogs die out, but the mosquitoes breed in rainwater instead. Uneaten, they multiply, along with their parasites, which kill off the monkeys. With no monkey-scat, the mango trees die, along with the mango-eating ants. This halves the lizards’ food and they fade away. No lizards means more wasps, which crowd the weakening owls out of nesting sites. The owls go. Only three viable species are left: wasps, mosquitoes and their parasite, which will now turn on the cause of all this – man.” Wow, this just proves how ignorants we are. So we are the cause of increase in mosquitoes!! Unbelievable. We get so angry when mosquitoes bite us everywhere and make noises and don’t let us sleep, and this is simply our fault. This is so funny. How stupid we are. We buy vap, any many other things to kill mosquitoes while the solution is very simple: don’t kill pigs; you save the environment and decrease mosquito proliferation. Sadly, how many species we are affecting buy killing only one. We are affecting the whole cycle. I’m amazed how every little tiny thing in nature has a role, and by taking out one little thing, everything turns upside down. I find it ridiculous how Disney misuses ecological principles. We need to bring awareness so humans stop killing pigs, so the frogs and all the other species in the cascade don’t die.

  14. It is very important that one recognizes his niche in life and the value of his existence. It is important, as well, to be aware of others existence, including nonhuman organisms. The simile presented in the article linking trophic cascades to bricks portrays the situation perfectly well. Moving one brick- and oops, the whole system falls down! It is very much the case in our ecosystem. Frogs are equally important and vital, as others, in the trophic cascade to maintain the necessary links and feeding webs. After all, they do protect monkeys from mosquitoes, as mentioned, and nine other species depend on them as well. Turning a blind eye to their importance and killing them will do us no good. Trying to portray them, as well, as inferior organisms (and humans or princes as superior, as in Disney movies) is by no means logical or reasonable. Give everyone their rights, and they will give it right back to you. Take away their rights, and they will ruin your whole system!

  15. If science has taught us anything it is that we live in a system. This system is as weak as its weakest link. If any part of the system is compromised tragic effects will be seen throughout. This is the case highlighted here. The frogs, those small creatures actually play a great role in our ecosystems and their protection should become a top priority because these tiny parts of our ecosystem are vital constituents of the system just like we are. One of the very interesting quotes i have come across in my readings on the subject is one by Dr. Kerry Kriger “When we save the frogs, we’re protecting all our wildlife, all our ecosystems and all humans.” This shows the gravity of the topic at hand.

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