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New Frog Exhibit Coming to the Tennessee Aquarium
“Leap Day” Opening - Featuring Colorful Species

Chattanooga, Tenn. (February 29, 2007) - There is something lovable about frogs. Maybe it’s the way they stare at us with huge, unblinking eyes. Or it could be the way some species have slightly upturned mouths, making it appear as though they have smiles on their faces. Or maybe some frogs are just so icky, bumpy or gross they’re cool. Whatever the opinion, the Tennessee Aquarium hopes to inspire visitors to appreciate these natural wonders by opening a new frog exhibit featuring some brightly colored tropical frog species.

To raise the amphibian bar for the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s “Year of the Frog,” the Tennessee Aquarium will be opening a new frog exhibit in Discovery Hall on “Leap Day.” “This new exhibit is designed to be the message center for the disappearance of amphibians,” explains Dave Collins, the Aquarium’s curator of forests. “It’s a keystone exhibit that links that message to our other amphibian exhibits.” The Aquarium currently displays nearly two dozen unusual frogs and amphibians. They range from the eel-like aquatic caecilians to colorful fire-bellied toads, funky paddle-tailed newts and brightly colored northern red salamanders.

Several tropical frog species will be showcased in the new exhibit. One of the largest is appropriately named—the giant waxy monkey frog. Big and bright green, these frogs get their common names because of their monkey-like movement among branches. These guys don’t jump unless they’re really scared.

You’ll also see eye-popping yellow-banded poison dart frogs. Collins says these frogs are great ambassadors for their species because of their brilliant coloration and daytime activity. “These frogs are using their color to advertise their toxicity, so their warning really needs to be seen by predators. Unlike many amphibians, these guys are active in the daytime when they can be seen.”

The new exhibit will also include interactive displays to engage visitors with video clips showing a variety of frogs calling. Collins says this will allow everyone to appreciate the marvelous vocalizations of these animals, and reinforce the conservation message that action is needed to save amphibians. “One of the buttons is silent, indicating that the particular species is no longer with us.”

Amphibian species are rapidly declining world-wide. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, one-third to one-half of the Earth’s 6,000 amphibians could go extinct in our lifetime. This would be the single largest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs.

Biologists refer to amphibians as indicator species. Their highly permeable skin and life cycles in the water and on land mean amphibians are among the first species to be affected by environmental contaminants. So when these animals show declines in the wild, it serves as a warning to other species, including humans.

Make sure you hop over to the Tennessee Aquarium to see this brand new “Ribbit Exhibit” and learn more about the world’s fabulous frogs as well as native amphibian species. Visitors will also learn what they can do to be a friend to frogs, newts, toads, and salamanders.

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The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $19.95 per adult and $12.95 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $7.95 per adult and $5.50 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $24.95 for adults and $16.95 for children. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities. Members enjoy unlimited visits and other benefits. Call 267-FISH to join.


Year of the Frog web page >>

ONLINE press kits & downloadable images: http://www.tnaqua.org/Newsroom/Newsroom.asp

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