Deadly Frog Fungus Pops Up in Madagascar, An amphibian Wonderland

By: Mercedes Pliego

Madagascar is home to a mind-boggling array of frogs, 99 percent of which are found nowhere else in the world. But a recent study finds out that the island nation now also hosts the greatest threat to amphibian biodiversity in modern times—the chytrid fungus.

As many as 7 percent of the world’s amphibian species live only in Madagascar. Chytrid is responsible for the decline or extinction of hundreds of amphibian species around the world. One forest in Panama lost 30 amphibian species to the fungus in about a year, according to a 2010 study.

A new study in the journal Scientific Reports finds that chytrid is present in multiple Madagascar frog species. Bletz and colleagues examined skin swabs and tissue samples from 4,155 amphibians tested for chytrid from 2005 to 2014. They found, to their surprise, that the fungus began to appear on frogs starting in 2010.

Picture of a frog with a fungus in Madagascar

A Williams’ bright-eyed frog clings to vegetation at the Ankaratra Massif in east-central Madagascar. The area is one of several locations where researchers have found the chytrid fungus.


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