Bullfrog Photos Wanted

Get out into the first rains of the season, snap a photo of a bullfrog and stand a chance of winning a weekend trip for two, popular frog books or a one-year Explorer membership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT). The EWT and the University of Pretoria are running a second giant bullfrog survey this rainy season, from October 27 to May 1, 2006.

The giant bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus) is listed as a near-threatened species, and the survey hopes to find out the amphibian's distribution and numbers in South Africa. Bullfrogs are increasingly being threatened by development, as their homes in grasslands and wetlands are favoured building sites.

The first giant bullfrog survey received almost 100 entries, with giant bullfrogs being found in 73 different localities. No records of the frogs were received from KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, but photos came in from Namibia and Botswana.

The majority of the bullfrog sightings took place in Gauteng. Giant bullfrogs can weigh more than a kilogram and are peculiar looking creatures. They have large-scale breeding events when conditions are right, but though there was a good breeding turn-out last rainy season, the last known mass breeding occurred in 1992-1994.

Only three entrants in the first giant bullfrog survey saw mass courtship, where more than 20 bullfrogs were found together in the same location. The giant bullfrog could easily become locally extinct because of its strict needs for certain breeding conditions.

For more information on the competition, contact Caroline Yeatman from the University of Pretoria on 082 581 5453, or log onto www.giantbullfrog.org.

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