Athletes Foot Killing Frogs By Spreading Deadly Chytridiomycosis Disease

An aggressive fungus, described as a version of athlete’s foot, is killing frogs worldwide and biologists are working hard to save them.

Athletes Foot Killing Frogs

The name of the fungus is Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or “BD”; it causes the disease chytridiomycosis. It is believed to have originated in Africa and then spread throughout the world by trade in African clawed frogs.

“We basically have to become really good frog farmers and breed a lot of frogs,” Brian Gratwicke, project coordinator for the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project at the Smithsonian, told the News.

“But the last thing we want to do is release these precious, expensive frogs back into wild, just to see them consumed by the fungus all over again.”

This widespread fungus produces aquatic zoospores by growing on amphibian skin. Europe, Australia, Latin America and the Caribbean have been hit especially hard by it, and frogs in the western United States are threatened. Panama has been hit the hardest and have had a catastrophic decline.

“Usually when Bd appears, it kills everything it is going to kill, and quickly,” said Roberto Ibanez of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama in a news statement today. “It kills some species, infects others, who serve as disease vectors, as carriers, so it doesn’t go away.”

Follow Us