Crayfish Harbor Fungus That's Wiping Out Amphibians
Freshwater crustaceans could be the key to understanding how the chytrid fungus persists in the ecosystem long after the last amphibian is gone.
In the last few decades, the disease caused by the chytrid fungus has been a disaster for frogs and other amphibians. More than 300 species are nearly extinct because of it. Many probably have gone extinct, but it can be difficult to know for sure when a tiny, rare species disappears from the face of the Earth. (Related photos: "Ten Most Wanted 'Extinct' Amphibians.")
"This pathogen is bad news. It's worse news than any other pathogen in the history of life on Earth as far as we know it," says Vance Vredenburg, a conservation biologist at San Francisco State University who studies frogs but did not work on the new study.
The chytrid fungus was only discovered in