New Tadpole Disease Threatens Frogs Worldwide

Posted: Aug 11 2015, 8:10am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


New Tadpole Disease Threatens Frogs Worldwide
Credit: Getty Images
  • Parasitic disease poses great threat to frog population around the world.

A highly infectious disease in tadpoles has affected frog populations in six different parts of the world.

According to British scientists the frog population of the world may be at risk. A new highly infectious parasitic disease has been found in tadpoles. More than half of the frogs’ population in the world are suffering from it. The disease may be a threat to the entire frog population in the world. 

The disease is caused in tadpoles by a micro-organism known as ‘Protists’. The microbes were found in the liver of the tadpoles by the British scientists. The microbe when studied was found to be previously unknown.

The frog liver samples were taken from six different countries across three continents. The results were published in a journal on Monday. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal. The study was led by the University of Exeter and the Natural History Museum.

The disease is suggested as distant relative of oyster parasites. The disease was found in tadpoles from both tropical and temperate climate regions. Thomas Richards from Exeter University co-led the study.

According to Richards frog populations are on a decline. The infectious disease discovered is a major factor for their decline. The next step is to figure out if the disease may cause substantial damage to the frog populations. The extent of the damage is critical as it may be verging on frog extinction. 

Professor Thomas Richards from the University of Exeter said: "Global frog populations are suffering serious declines and infectious disease has been shown to be a significant factor. Our work has revealed a previously unidentified microbial group that infects tadpole livers in frog populations across the globe.

"We now need to figure out if this novel microbe - a distant relative of oyster parasites - causes significant disease and could be contributing to the frog population declines."

In 2008 32% of frog species were listed as threatened or extinct. Some scientists argue the cause of the amphibian extinction is a gradual extinction process by earth itself. If the rate of decline continues animals on earth will be extinct faster than even the dinosaurs. 

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