Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by infection with the Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis fungus, is the most devastating vertebrate disease on record. The fungus infects more than 600 species of amphibian and has been implicated as the primary cause of decline in more than 200 species.
A new Animal Conservation study indicates that the common eastern froglet, Crinia signifera, can carry infections without experiencing mortality. Therefore, the presence of the froglets at sites where species have become threatened or extinct inhibits efforts to reintroduce these species.
"Crinia signifera appears to be an important player in maintaining levels of disease within the ecosystem," said lead author Dr. Laura Brannelly, of the University of Pittsburgh.
"The common eastern froglet has a wide distribution in Australia and can occur in high densities. They co-occur in high numbers at the sites where other frog species have declined and may have played a key role in those declines."
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L. A. Brannelly et al, Non-declining amphibians can be important reservoir hosts for amphibian chytrid fungus, Animal Conservation (2017). DOI: 10.1111/acv.12380