Construction projects across the area have been suspended after Thursdayâ€™s discovery of a family of tiny, extremely rare blue-and-yellow frogs residing under a bridge in Worthington.
The blue-and-yellow poison arrow frogs are close cousins to the Golden Poison Frog, the most toxic of all frogs.
Due to the dietary restrictions imposed upon them by residing in Whiskey Ditch, however, the blue-and-yellow frogs are not ca-pable of producing poison sufficiently lethal to kill anything but carp.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) speculates the frogs have always lived in the area, and have been reduced to a small population by the northern glossy frog, which was furtively introduced to the area in 1981 in order to halt the spread of carp and increase the clarity and quality of Lake Okabena.
The action was well-intentioned, but fundamentally misguided, biologists said, warning potential frog-dumpers to beware lest they cause an ecological disaster.
The northern glossy frogs quickly edged out native poison dart frog species, including the blue-and-yellow poison arrow frogs as well as the better-known beautiful deadly poison frog, both of which roamed the shores of Lake Okabena by the hundreds in the 1870s.
As frog-hunting became a popular pastime throughout 1900, the blue-and-yellows declined, slaughtered by the hundred for their brightly-colored skin. In 1909, after the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, a frog-hunter of extraordinary tenacity who helped propel the sport into the 20th century through his writings, frog-huntingâ€™s popularity began to decline.
While the beautiful deadly poison frogs saw a resurgence, the blue-and-yellow poison arrow frogs virtually disappeared. Occa-sionally, someone would report a frog-sighting to the DNR, but because no photographic evidence could be supplied, little credence was given to frog-related claims.
In 1994, the Alliance for Poison Dart Frogs applied for federal funding and tax-exempt 501c3 status and was denied. It seemed the day of the poison arrow frog in Worthington was over.
Now the brightly-colored blue-and-yellows have been rediscovered, living under the noses of the very scientists who claimed their extinction. Construction projects have been put on hold indefinitely while the speciesâ€™ endangered status is verified by federal offi-cials, who hope to save the frogs from a second near-extinction.
The frogs are back in town â€” or maybe you should check your calendar. Happy April Foolâ€™s Day!