African Clawed Frog Spreads Deadly Amphibian Fungus
Global trade, scientific and medical advancements contributed to the spread of a deadly amphibian disease.
“It did a really huge number on an entire genus of frogs in Central America,” said Marm Kilpatrick, a disease ecologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). The fungus probably caused several species of this harlequin frog (Atelopus) to go extinct, he added. (Related:“Endangered Frogs Get Helping Hand.”)
Chytrid is also largely responsible for endangering California’s mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa).
"It's the single biggest threat to vertebrate diversity in the world," Kilpatrick said. (Related: "30 Amphibian Species Wiped Out in Panama Forest.")
The fungus, which seems to attack only amphibians, causes a thickening of the infected amphibian’s skin, preventing the animal from breathing properly and interfering with its electrolyte balance. The infection can