Rare Frog Species Bear the Brunt of Chytrid, a Deadly Fungal Disease
Hope for frog conservation got bleaker with a recent study showing that fungus-associated extinction is reducing amphibian biodiversity in Central America
Credits: SANDRA P. GALEANO
SURVIVAL EVEN FOR RESISTANT FROGS COULD BE FLEETING The lemur leaf frog (
Hylomantis lemur), pictured here, disappeared from all of the sites that Lips surveyed. H. lemur lives in moist areas where the chytrid-causing fungus thrives. ROBERTO BRENES
RARE FROGS ARE AMONG THE FIRST TO GO The banded horned tree frog (
Hemiphractus fasciatus), pictured here, became extinct at all three of the sites where they were detected prior to chytrid's arrival. As the fungus spreads southeast through Central America, at a rate of tens of kilometers per year, the authors fear that it will continue to destroy H. fasciatus populations. The loss of these amphibians means an ecological loss, not to mention the extinction of unusual triangular-headed frogs that carry their eggs on their backs. "We're losing the really cool stuff," says Lips, who has spent two decades surveying frog communities in Central America. ROBERTO BRENES
THE RED-EYED TREE FROG HANGS ON Species such as the red-eyed tree frog (
Agalychnis callidryas), pictured here, seem to be relatively abundant despite the presence of the disease. In contrast, rarer species were more likely to disappear, leading to loss of frog biodiversity across the region. SANDRA P. GALEANO Advertisement Expertise. Insights. Illumination.
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