Researchers tackle deadly amphibian disease.

Frog /Gratistodo

Researchers from the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales MNCN and the Instituto Mixto de Investigación en Biodiversidad (IMIB), both part of CSIC, have successfully controlled chytridiomycosis, a disease threatening amphibians globally, using an agricultural fungicide.

Their study, published in ‘Scientific Reports’, marks the first time researchers have managed to combat chytridiomycosis without the need to remove the animals before treatment. Previously, a team led by Jaime Bosch achieved success with Balearic midwife toads in Mallorca but had to remove the animals before treatment, which was costly.

Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has caused alarming declines in amphibian populations worldwide. The researchers worked with populations of Betic midwife toads, Alytes dickhilleni, endemic to the Betic mountain range in southeastern Spain.

This disease affects amphibian skin, disrupting water and electrolyte regulation and leading to heart failure. Amphibians are highly endangered due to habitat loss and disease incidence, making this breakthrough significant. The researchers used the agricultural fungicide tebuconazole to treat infected waters, significantly reducing the infectious load in most treated sites.

The importance of preserving nature

While chemical intervention is not ideal, it is necessary to save threatened populations. The researchers emphasize the urgency of effective interventions to prevent further extinctions among amphibian species globally.

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Written by

Marina Lorente

A Spanish woman who has returned to her motherland after 6 years living in London. She is passionate about nature, animals and yoga.