Self-Paced Frog Dissection Guide
I certainly do not want teachers' support of frog dissecting to result in harm to frog populations. The staff people of two well known biological supply companies have assured me that their grass frogs are collected according to government regulations which prohibit damage to wild populations.
Nevertheless, I've become convinced that bullfrogs are the much better choice.
First, bullfrogs sold by biological supply companies are farm raised (produced primarily for the food market) negating the fear of harming wild populations. In fact, as the following links give evidence, in large areas of North America bullfrogs are now considered an invasive species!
Second, the added size of bullfrogs makes for a remarkably better dissection experience! This is particularly true for younger adolescents, many of whom are still developing their fine motor skills. My first experience with bullfrogs several years ago left me so impressed that, if my budget is ever reduced, I will opt to increase the size of my student teams rather than return to grass frogs. Bullfrogs’ hearts are big enough to see each chamber clearly and their stomachs often yield crawdads in addition to insects. Dissection of a bullfrogs’ brain and eyes reveals subdivisions large enough to clearly discern, and inflation of the large lungs and urinary bladder is something students will never forget!
What about cost? It pays to shop around. If purchased in quantities of at least ten, the largest bullfrogs (6-7") range from about $10.00 to $16.00 each, while the largest grass frogs (5½") range from about $6.00 to $9.00 apiece. In lean budget years, assigning students to teams of three instead of two will nearly offset the cost difference.