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Toads vs. Fungi

December 1, 2015

Scientists demonstrate that it’s possible to locally vanquish a fungal disease that’s been wiping out frogs, toads and salamanders around the world.


Jaime Bosch 1 1

(Jaime Bosch MNCN-CSIC)


Toads vs. fungi. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

[Calls of Mallorcan midwife toad] On the Spanish island of Mallorca, the Mallorcan midwife toad, once thought to be extinct, lives in small pools hidden in limestone cliffs. [peep, peep] But while the little amphibians have beaten extinction once, they’ve recently become threatened by a killer fungus called chytrid that’s been decimating amphibian populations around the worldIn Biology Letters, the Zoological Society of London’s Trent Garner and his colleagues report treating the toad’s tadpoles with a common antifungal agent called itraconazole.

TRENT GARNER (Zoological Society of London):

And we combined that with environmental disinfection, and the combination of those two things has led to sustained loss of infections for three years now.


Garner says the approach may work best for isolated, high elevation amphibian. But it at least offers hope in the difficult battle to save endangered species. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS. the science society.