A fungus that kills amphibians is responsible for the largest documented loss of nature, according to researchers.
Better biosafety and wildlife trade restrictions are urgently needed to prevent further extinction.
The disease, chytridiomycosis, has led to mass extinctions of frogs, toads and salamanders in the past 50 years, including the extinction of 90 species.
It has spread to over 60 countries.
Australia, Central America and South America are particularly affected.
"A highly virulent wildlife disease, including chytridiomycosis, is contributing to the Earth's sixth mass extinction," Dr. Ben Scheele from the Australian National University in Canberra.
I have lost some really amazing species. "
Three decades ago scientists noticed that amphibians were dying all over the world. The suspect was identified as a fungus named Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which attacks the skin of amphibians and effectively "eats" them.
A great overview of the evidence published in the journal Science.
- The fungus has pushed at least 501
- 90 are considered extinct or extinct in the wild, while the other species have declined by more than 90%
- In many species, the fungus is the major factor in the death of amphibians. In other cases, however, it is associated with habitat loss, climate change and predator species of invasive species, in order to obliviate species.
Other reports you might like:
- Should cats be eradicated to stop the extinction?
- "Living fossil" in the direction of extinction
- New "mystery" frog discovered in India
Scientists say that globalization and wildlife trade are the main causes of this global pandemic and they allow the spread of the disease ,
"Humans are moving plants and animals around the world at an ever faster pace, bringing pathogens to new areas," Dr. Scheele.
According to two Canadian experts, the fungus is "another nail in the coffin for the state of amphibians worldwide".
Loss of habitats, exploitation and climate change are still the main threats to thousands of species, says Dan Greenberg and Wendy Palen of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada.
"These stressors often work in concert, but there are clear management measures to address at least some of them: protecting the habitat, limiting the collection of wild populations, and restricting trade." She wrote in an article about new research in science.
Follow Helen on Twitter .