Monday, April 06, 2009

Good Time to be a Frog?

With all the rain we've had lately around the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest, it would appear to be a good time to be a frog or any amphibian. However, there is big problem in the amphibian world.

Amphibians already are already under seige from increased UV-B radiation due to depletion in our planet's protective ozone layer. Additionally, amphibians are extremely sensitive to toxins in the environment as they absorb water and oxygen (and toxins, if present) through their skin. They also shed and eat their skin on a regular basis. The big problem, however, is a fungus.

The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is already responsible for significant declines in frog populations in Central America and Australia and is spreading rapidly. The fungus causes the frog's skin to thinken and interfere with the absorption of water and oxygen. Where present and thriving, the fungus has an 80% mortality rate within the amphibian populations.

When it rains and the chorus of frog songs fills the damp air, don't take the sound for granted. It's good to be a frog when love is in the air, but there is also a fungus amongst us!

Image by Mark Musselman

1 comment:

Swampy said...

Latest on frog fungus: