Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Deadly Frog Disease Is Spreading

Date:
May 4, 2007
Source:
Griffith University
Summary:
The deadly chytrid fungus is making devastating in-roads into Australia's vulnerable frog populations. According to a new study this disease-causing fungus is now established in frog populations throughout Eastern Australia. The researchers notes that dozens of species have disappeared due to this disease worldwide.

Researchers swab a small frog (litoria wilcoxii).
Credit: Kerry Kriger

The deadly chytrid fungus is making devastating in-roads into Australia's vulnerable frog populations, with a Griffith University study revealing the disease-causing fungus is now established in frog populations throughout Eastern Australia.

Griffith researcher Kerry Kriger has just completed a PhD study within the Endangered Frog Research Group in Griffith University's Centre for Innovative Conservation Strategies, focusing on the geography of the disease across the region from the mountains to the coast between Cairns and southern NSW.

Kerry said that chytridiomycosis – the disease caused by the fungus – was likely absent from Queensland until 1978. It is now prevalent in moist, temperate areas around Australia, and around the world. Scientists theorize the rapid spread has been driven by international trade in amphibians as well as environmental factors. "Chytrid has spread so quickly that frogs often have no chance to evolve resistance to it," Kerry said.

"It's highly infectious, so when it arrives in an area most frogs are likely to contract it. It attacks the keratin in the frogs' skin, and may also produce a toxin that poisons the frog. The disease can have an 80 per cent mortality rate, and is already believed to be responsible for 6-8 species extinctions in eastern Australia. "Overseas dozens of species have disappeared due to the disease."

Kerry said research was underway around Australia to understand and control the disease, both through fungicidal treatment of infected tadpoles and frogs, and large scale preventative measures such as limiting the import and transport of amphibians between areas and countries. Unfortunately, the fungus does not threaten cane toad populations.

Project supervisor and Research Centre Director Associate Professor Jean-Marc Hero said at least one-third of the world's 6,060 amphibian species are threatened with extinction.

"Frogs are recognised as an important bio-indicator, acting as an early warning system for environmental problems. While habitat loss is the greatest threat to coastal frogs, this new disease has had devastating effects in the frog populations in the hinterland regions," he said.

"Additional pressures including habitat loss, air and water-borne pollutants such as herbicides and even climate change could weaken frogs' immune systems, and make them more prone to fungal infections," Associate Professor Hero said.

Members of the public can help reduce the spread of this fungal pathogen by not handling frogs and not re-locating frogs or tadpoles from one place to another.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Griffith University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Griffith University. "Deadly Frog Disease Is Spreading." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070503095949.htm>.
Griffith University. (2007, May 4). Deadly Frog Disease Is Spreading. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070503095949.htm
Griffith University. "Deadly Frog Disease Is Spreading." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070503095949.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins