Animals
4:20 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Discovery Of 7,000th Amphibian Celebrated In Song

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 5:39 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now to a celebration. Well, it's actually more along the lines of...

(SOUNDBITE OF FROGS CREEKING)

CORNISH: Yes. Today, we, the warm-blooded, honor those who are not - namely, amphibians. That's because of the discovery of the 7,000th species of amphibian. A website called AmphibiaWeb at the University of California, Berkeley is keeping count.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "7,000 KINDS OF AMPHIBIANS")

CONNOR LOCKRIDGE: (Singing) From the slimiest frog to the tiniest toad...

CORNISH: Oh, and they wrote a song about it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "7,000 KINDS OF AMPHIBIANS")

LOCKRIDGE: (Singing) ...to the larva which go by the name tadpoles to the Sicilian (unitelligible) wiggling in their holes to the giant salamanders that grow and grow. Most lay eggs. Their blood runs cold, but they're not lizards. No, no, no. Amphibians, amphibians. Seven thousand kinds of amphibians.

CORNISH: Well, the song is written and performed by a friend of AmphibiaWeb, Connor Lockridge, so in his rock star moments, he goes by the name The Wiggly Tendrils.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "7,000 KINDS OF AMPHIBIANS")

LOCKRIDGE: (Singing) ...back. Rhino derma (unintelligible), external gills on its head. (Unintelligible).

DAVID WAKE: You listen to it a couple of times and it sort of catches in there, doesn't it?

CORNISH: That's David Wake. He's the website's founding member and an expert on salamanders at Berkeley. By the way, for those keeping track at home, the 7,000th species of amphibian is called Centrolene sabini, a type of glass frog from Peru, but Wake says they've already surpassed that number.

WAKE: We have - oh, let me check AmphibiaWeb. We list the number of species. We're already up to 7,006.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "7,000 KINDS OF AMPHIBIANS")

LOCKRIDGE: (Singing) Seven thousand kinds of amphibians (unintelligible) your tail, secrete your glands. Seven thousand kinds of amphibians.

CORNISH: That's a lot of amphibians, but write a song about it? Seriously?

WAKE: Most people have positive feelings towards amphibians. Just think about "The Muppets," for example. You know, Kermit the Frog. They're kind of harmless, benign organisms that speak to our childhood. I remember the first time I found a salamander. I remember it to this day.

CORNISH: Man or muppet or amphibian, it's kind of sweet, actually.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE RAINBOW CONNECTION")

KERMIT THE FROG: (Singing) Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what's on the other side? Rainbows are visions, but only illusions and rainbows have nothing to hide. So we've been told and conclude to believe it.

CORNISH: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.