Tag: Panama

Deadly Fungus Invades Frogs' Last Safe Haven in Central America

By Veronique Greenwood | June 14, 2011 5:07 pm

frog

What’s the News: A fungus that his been wiping out frog species all over the world is creeping into the last area patch of tropical mountains in the Americas escape its scourge, the Darien National Park in Panama, and scientists are scrambling to save what species they can.

Frogs have been taking a beating over the last three decades, due in large part to a ruthless killer called chytrid fungus. Identified in the late ’90s, the fungus is startlingly lethal, driving 50% of species into extinction and killing 80% of individuals within five months of appearing at one location in Panama. It spreads through water via spores, affecting even areas where humans have not penetrated. “It is the worst infectious disease ever recorded among vertebrates in terms of the number of species impacted, and its propensity to drive them to extinction,” wrote a team of scientists in a 2005 World Conservation Union report [pdf].

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World

Frog Species Are Hopping Into Extinction Before They’re Even Discovered

By Andrew Moseman | July 20, 2010 9:48 am

PanamaFrogAndrew Crawford and his colleagues discovered 11 new species of amphibians in Panama. But they wish it hadn’t happened this way.

The team just completed a long-term study of amphibians in Panama’s Omar Torrijos National Park, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showing the startling disappearance of species there. Co-author Karen Lips began the study back before the disease chytridiomycosis, which is caused by a fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and has devastated amphibian populations, reached that place and began to afflict its inhabitants.

The pre-decline surveys identified 63 species of amphibians within just a 1.5-square-mile (4-square-kilometer) area. After 2004, 25 of those species had disappeared from the site. As of 2008, none had reappeared. An additional nine species saw an 85 percent to 99 percent decline in their abundance [MSNBC].

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World
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