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Mushroom disease killing frogs, toads, salamanders worldwide | earth

<! – -> [embedded content] An international study has shown that a fungal disease – called chytridiomycosis – has caused a dramatic population decline in more than 500 amphibians – mainly frogs, but also toads and salamanders – including 90 extinctions. Over the past 50 years, the fatal disease, which eats away on the amphibians, has completely obliterated certain species, while causing more sporadic deaths among other species. Queensland's common Mistfrog is one of the frogs whose populations have decreased due to chytridiomycosis. Image via Lee Skerratt / U. Melbourne. According to the research, published March 29, 2019, in the journal Science chytridiomycosis is present in more than 60 countries – the worst affected parts of the world are Australia, Central America and South America. Ben Scheele from Australia National University is the study's leading author. Scheele said in a statement: It is the largest recorded loss of biodiversity that can be attributed to a disease. A photo with a scanning electron microscope shows an infected frog with fungal tubes running through the skin surface. Picture via Lee Berger / U. Melbourne. Chytridiomycosis caused by chytrid fungi is probably native to East Asia but is now known to be present in more than 60 countries. Senior Lecturer in Melbourne, Professor Lee Berger, who discovered chytridiomycosis in 1998, is a co-author of the new study. She said that when chytridiomycosis is introduced to a susceptible amphibian population, its effects are sudden and devastating. The fungus invades the skin of adult amphibians,…

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An international study has shown that a fungal disease – called chytridiomycosis – has caused a dramatic population decline in more than 500 amphibians – mainly frogs, but also toads and salamanders – including 90 extinctions.

Over the past 50 years, the fatal disease, which eats away on the amphibians, has completely obliterated certain species, while causing more sporadic deaths among other species.

Queensland’s common Mistfrog is one of the frogs whose populations have decreased due to chytridiomycosis. Image via Lee Skerratt / U. Melbourne.

According to the research, published March 29, 2019, in the journal Science chytridiomycosis is present in more than 60 countries – the worst affected parts of the world are Australia, Central America and South America.

Ben Scheele from Australia National University is the study’s leading author. Scheele said in a statement:

It is the largest recorded loss of biodiversity that can be attributed to a disease.

A photo with a scanning electron microscope shows an infected frog with fungal tubes running through the skin surface. Picture via Lee Berger / U. Melbourne.

Chytridiomycosis caused by chytrid fungi is probably native to East Asia but is now known to be present in more than 60 countries.

Senior Lecturer in Melbourne, Professor Lee Berger, who discovered chytridiomycosis in 1998, is a co-author of the new study. She said that when chytridiomycosis is introduced to a susceptible amphibian population, its effects are sudden and devastating.

The fungus invades the skin of adult amphibians, living in epidermal cells and interfering with the skin.

Unlike mammals, amphibians absorb water and electrolytes through their thin, permeable skin, but chytridiomycosis inhibits the process. Frogs lose potassium and sodium until their blood levels are too low and the hearts begin to work. They become veiled and die.

Berggråbenet frog was listed as threatened in 2014 after over 90 percent of the population disappeared. Image via Isaac Chellman / NPS / Flickr.

Scheele said the unprecedented number of declines places chytrid fungus among the most harmful of invasive species worldwide. Scheele said:

Very virulent wild diseases, including chytridiomycosis, contribute to the earth’s sixth mass extinction. The disease we studied has caused mass enlargement of amphibians worldwide. We have lost some really amazing species.

The researchers say that globalization and animal trade are the main causes of this global pandemic and make it possible to continue the disease spread. Scheele said:

People are moving plants and animals around the world at an increasingly rapid rate, introducing pathogens into new areas.

Bottom line: A new study has shown that a fungal disease – called chytridiomycosis – has caused a dramatic population

Source: Amphibious fungalanzootic causes catastrophic and ongoing loss of biodiversity>

Via Australian National University

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