Panamanian amphibians attacked by fungus

February 7, 2006

Something wicked this way comes -- at least if you're a frog or salamander living near El Cope, Panama.

An outbreak of an infectious disease called chytridiomycosis, attributed to the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has infected and caused rapid die-offs in eight families of Panamanian amphibians, scientists report in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A survey of amphibian populations in central Panama has uncovered a case of chytridiomycosis that is rapidly radiating outward from western Panama into the El Cope region, spreading from northwest to southeast from Costa Rica toward Colombia.

"Chytridiomycosis is an alarming model system for disease-driven extinction of a high proportion of an entire class of vertebrates," the scientists said. "It is no longer correct to speak of global amphibian declines, but more appropriately of global amphibian extinctions."

The fungus has been implicated in the decline of more than 40 amphibian species in Central America and 93 such species worldwide, said zoologist Karen Lips of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, lead author of the report.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Scientists find deadly amphibian disease in the last disease-free region of central America

Related Stories

Two new frog species discovered in Panama's fungal war zone

May 26, 2010

Trying to stay ahead of a deadly disease that has wiped out more than 100 species, scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute continue to discover new frog species in Panama: Pristimantis educatoris, from Omar ...

The Isthmus of Panama: Out of the Deep Earth

April 1, 2014

As dates in geologic history go, the formation of the slender land bridge that joins South America and North America is a red-letter one. More than once over the past 100 million years, the two great landmasses have been ...

Unique frog helps amphibian conservation efforts

March 7, 2011

A tropical frog – the only one of its kind in the world – is providing conservationists with exclusive insights into the genetic make-up of its closest endangered relatives.

Recommended for you

A new model of frequency combs in optical microresonators

January 24, 2018

A team from the Faculty of Physics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, together with scientists from the Russian Quantum Center, have developed a new mathematical model that describes the process of soliton occurrence ...

Retrospective test for quantum computers can build trust

January 24, 2018

Tech companies are racing to make commercial quantum computers. A new scheme from researchers in Singapore and Japan could help customers establish trust in buying time on such machines—and protect companies from dishonest ...

Scientists achieve high power with new smaller laser

January 24, 2018

An international team of scientists has produced the first high-powered, randomly polarised laser beam with a "Q switch" laser, which typically emits pulses of light so brief that they're measured in nanoseconds. Lasers are ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.