For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


“Frogs and toads are disappearing on your planet. Others are born deformed,” reads the ominous message at Frogweb’s Adopt a Frog Pond Web site (www.frogweb.gov/adopt.html). This warning comes courtesy of Captain Ribbitt, the space-age spokesamphibian for the U.S. Geological Survey’s campaign to bring attention to the plight of the little green earthlings.

“He’s a frog from another planet who patrols the galaxy looking out for the conditions under which frogs live and making sure that they are OK,” says Tom Arvis, the illustrator who developed the planet-hopping crusader. Sam Droege, a USGS biologist who helped design the site, says the agency chose the caped amphibian to make the campaign “less stodgy, less bureaucratic.”

The bipedal frog hero, apparently a mutant himself, greets visitors with a simple message: “Save the Frogs.” The site seeks volunteers to help scientists count and monitor normal and mutant frogs, and asks people to report malformed frogs and dwindling frog populations in their areas. The USGS hopes to find the cause of the malformations before humans are at risk of defects like those of Captain Ribbitt’s marshland friends. As Droege says, “Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that point.”

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate