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Tadpoles wiped out by Arctic blast

A whole generation of frogs has been wiped out and rare plant species decimated after sub-zero temperatures gripped a Cornish wilderness. The Lizard peninsula is home to some of Britain's rarest flora and fauna, many of which have adapted to flourish in the unique conditions. But as mild winter weather last week gave way to THE SEVEREST FROSTS IN DECADES, the ground was turned rock solid and shallow water froze – killing off plants and animals. "Any frost is a RARE occurrence and many of the rare and unusual flora and fauna unique to The Lizard only occur here because frosts are so unusual. Species like the frogs have adapted their lifecycles to make the most of the mild winters, breeding in October rather than the more usual spring. The wet summer and autumn looked like it was going to be a bumper year for the frogs, until the severe frost arrived and froze the tadpoles into blocks of ice." Data from the Met Office recorded a temperature of –7.8 on the night of January 6, THE COLDEST THERE FOR 20 YEARS. Scientists fear for the delicate balance of nature in places like The Lizard as climate change made weather patterns more erratic. The frost has also made life difficult for one of The Lizard's most celebrated, but elusive, wild residents – the Cornish chough. The iconic birds usually feed by poking their beaks into the ground and rummaging for invertebrates. But the frozen ground has made it impossible for the bird to feed. It is also feared that the frost penetrated deep into the soil, potentially affecting some winter annuals.

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