By DEEPTI HAJELA
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - It's quite the colorful new
ex-gribbit, er, exhibit. "Frogs: A Chorus of Colors," at
the American Museum of Natural History, introduces
viewers to the multihued and diverse world of the
amphibians, from the dart poison frogs of Central and
South America to the bullfrogs of the United States.
The show, which opens Saturday and runs through Oct.
3, looks at more than 200 frogs, representing at least
two dozen species from around the world. Among the
highlights are nine species of the highly toxic dart
poison frogs, so named because their secretions are used
to coat the blow darts used by the Embera Choco people
of northwestern Colombia. One of the tiny, golden poison
frogs has enough poison to kill 10 people.
The frogs become toxic from the insects they eat. But
the public needn't worry: The ones in the show are
harmless. They have been bred in captivity on a diet
that doesn't have any of the poisonous compounds.
The other frogs in the exhibit showcase their
diversity, in appearance, environment and habits.
The Vietnamese mossy frogs, found in the northern
part of Vietnam, have skin that's textured and colored
in ways that make them look like moss. (There are more
than a dozen in the show; try to find them all!)
The waxy monkey frogs of Argentina, Paraguay and
Bolivia live in a dry, hot place and use a waxy
secretion to seal moisture into their bodies.
Chinese gliding frogs, native to southeastern China,
have webbing between their toes that allows them to
glide as they jump from branch to branch. And smoky
jungle frogs, found in Central and South America, are a
commonly eaten delicacy.
The exhibit's curator, Christopher Raxworthy, said
frogs are important to study because they are extremely
sensitive to changes in the environment and can be good
early indicators of ecological changes that could
potentially impact on a wider scale.
"When we see frogs disappearing, that should be a
warning to all of us," he said.
And, of course, they're just fun to watch, said
15-year-old Will Bartow, of Garrison, N.Y., who made a
special trip to the museum just to see the
"I just think they're so cool," the ninth-grader
said. "It's just fun to watch them jump around."
The exhibit includes a number of interactive displays
and cameras to allow viewers to zoom in for closer looks
at the dart poison frogs. The museum is also presenting
lectures, tours and children's workshops to coincide
with the show, which will not travel.
On the Net:
American Museum of Natural History: http://www.amnh.org/
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