For decades, a disease called chytridiomycosis has devastated whole species of frogs, toads and salamanders.
Now scientists have calculated how widespread this devastation is.
Overall, chytridiomycosis caused by chytrid fungus has caused at least 501 amphibian species to decline, according to a study published on Thursday in the journal Science. Of these, 90 species are extinct or probably extinct in the wild.
"We knew that Chytrid was really bad, but we did not know how bad it was, and it's a lot worse than the earlier early estimates said study leader Ben Scheele, an ecologist at the Australian National University , opposite National Geographic. "Our new results show that it has the same extent of damage to biodiversity compared to rats, cats and invasive species [other]."
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says. Biologists have reported that frog species have disappeared or declined since the 1950s. After discussing the new study, in 1990 researchers discovered a global pattern of increasing inexplicable frog decreases but they did not know.
An international team of scientists discovered an amphibious chytrid fungus in 1998 and found that frogs have declined in Australia and Central America.
More than 10 years later, the researchers learned how the fungus kills. It attacks the skin of the animals as they breathe and regulate the water level, according to National Geographic. Infections spread until the frog or salamander dies of cardiac arrest.
Scientists believe the lineage of the chytrid fungus was behind the declines after being crossed with another lineage and created a more damaging cross the Washington Post reports. The hybrid spread easily as humans transported infected amphibians in the global pet trade.
Herpetologist Jonathan Kolby, one of the authors of the study, told the post office, "It's an amazing thing to keep in mind. We have never had a single disease that has the power to extinguish several species on several continents simultaneously. "
According to Kolby and the other authors of the study, governments must further restrict the global wildlife trade amphibious or better screening methods.
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"Chytrid mushroom, which has ever been described by science – that's a pretty shocking realization said Wendy Palen, a biologist at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, to National Geographic.
There is a glimmer of hope: Sixty of the 501 species showed signs of recovery, although they were mostly in individual stands.