The plight of the frog is upon us. I recently discovered this troubling fact while visiting the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. I was tired and of course the only seats available were in front of a t.v. playing this video.
Frogs and other amphibians are facing extinction. In particular, Frogs have lost 170 species in the last 10 years. Humans causing changes in the frog habitat are a significant part of the problem. However, the biggest contributor to the sharp decline in the frog population is the spread chytrid fungus. The chytrid fungus causes amphibians to develop chytridiomycosis. Chytridiomycosis increases the amount of keratin in amphibians’ cells, leading to a thicker layer of skin. This process is called hyperplasia and hyperkeratosis and is a problem for many speicies of frogs and other amphibians. Amphibians absorb water and other salts (electrolytes) through their skin, a change in their skin’s thickness effects their ability to absorb electrolytes. Changes in electrolyte levels can cause heart problems and lead to death.
If you would like to see several species of frogs and other amphibians in the future, organizations like Amphibian Ark are trying to house and isolate the vulnerable populations until they find a cure for the disease. If you want to donate to this cause, click here.
For more information about Chytridiomycosis.
For a brief overview of the frogs on the brink of extinction.
- Frog killer immune genes revealed (bbc.co.uk)
- Scientists discover 12 new frog species in India (sfgate.com)
- Possible biological control discovered for pathogen devastating amphibians (eurekalert.org)