Thursday, 10 May 2018

New evidence that bullfrogs are to blame for deadly fungus outbreaks in western US

Danger of moving animals and plants around the world highlighted

Date: May 7, 2018
Source: San Francisco State University

In the 1890s, settlers crossed the Rocky Mountains seeking new opportunities -- and bearing frogs. A new study draws a link between that introduction of American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) to the western half of the United States with the spread of a fungus deadly to amphibians. The work highlights the catastrophic results of moving animals and plants to new regions.

The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has rapidly spread around the world since the 1970s, causing a skin disease called chytridiomycosis and wiping out more than 200 species of amphibians globally. In the United States, these declines have followed a curious pattern. "In the whole region east of the Rockies, there hasn't been a single outbreak of Bd," said study author Vance Vredenburg, a professor of biology at San Francisco State. "But in the West there's hundreds, if not thousands."

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