Photo Ark: Amphibians at Risk

Photo Ark: Amphibians at Risk

A deadly fungus is spreading through amphibian communities around the world.


4 - 9


Photography, Biology, Geography

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Toughie, the world’s last known Rabb’s fringe-limbed tree frog, passed away in September 2016 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The disappearance of Rabb’s fringe-limbed tree frog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum) is one of many amphibian extinctions in recent decades, and scientists estimate that 40% of amphibian populations are currently in dangerous decline.

Habitat loss and pollution definitely play a role in this decline, but an infectious disease called amphibian chytridiomycosis is also having a major impact. Herpetologists commonly refer to the fungus that causes it as the amphibian chytrid. This fungus spreads the disease via waterborne spores. Amphibian chytrid has been observed in more than 500 species of amphibians. All of the species in the photo gallery above are in decline due to amphibian chytrid.

Researchers have found a predatory microbe that could help. This microbe consumes amphibian chytrid spores and has been successful in reducing the spread of the disease in multiple experimental ponds. It’s a small step in the right direction and each new discovery, big or small, can play a role in mitigating the impact of amphibian chytrid.

Media Credits

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Jordan Lim, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Chandana Jasti, National Geographic Society
Bob Connelly
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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