Toughie, the world’s last known Rabb’s fringe-limbed tree frog, passed away in September 2016 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The disappearance of Rabb’s fringe-limbed tree frog is one of many amphibian extinctions in recent decades, and scientists estimate that 40% of amphibian populations are currently in dangerous decline.
Habitat loss and pollution definitely play a role in this decline, but an infectious disease called amphibian chytridiomycosis is also having a major impact. Herpetologists commonly refer to the fungus that causes it as the amphibian chytrid. This fungus spreads the disease via waterborne spores. Amphibian chytrid has been observed in more than 500 species of amphibians. All of the species in the photo gallery above are in decline due to amphibian chytrid.
Researchers have found a predatory microbe that could help. This microbe consumes amphibian chytrid spores and has been successful in reducing the spread of the disease in multiple experimental ponds. It’s a small step in the right direction and each new discovery, big or small, can play a role in mitigating the impact of amphibian chytrid.
Frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, and caecilians are all types of amphibians. What kinds of traits do they share? What makes them amphibians?
How do amphibian adaptations make them susceptible to a disease spread by a water-based fungus?
What are some ways you can get involved to help slow the spread of amphibian chytrid?
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry amphibian Noun
an animal able to live both on land and in water.
process of complete disappearance of a species from Earth.
(plural: fungi) type of organism that survives by decomposing and absorbing the material in which it grows.
person who studies reptiles.
contamination or invasion by harmful organisms, such as a virus.
to lower the severity of a natural or human condition.
reproductive unit of many organisms, such as plants and bacteria, similar to a seed.