Saturday, February 12, 2011
Meet Dirk Diggler: spawn star, sex god and saviour of his species
"It was a hot summer night in 1998 when a solitary spotted tree frog named Dirk went out looking for love. The fertile young male climbed down to a riverbank and began chirping his seductive, distinctive mating call. But there was no answer. Dirk was the last of his kind in the last spotted tree frog colony in NSW, tucked away in a corner of Kosciuszko National Park. All the rest had died of chytrid fungus, an introduced skin disease that has ravaged frog populations across Australia. Without females to respond to his mating song, Dirk's future was bleak. Fortunately other ears were listening."