by Piter Kehoma Boll
Today I’m bringing you a species that is probably one of the most terrible ones to exist today, the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, also known simply as Bd.
The amphibian chytrid fungus, as its name says, is a chytrid, a fungus of the division Chytridiomycota, which include microscopic species that usually feed by degrading chitin, keratin in other such materials. In the case of the amphibian chytrid fungus, it infects the skin of amphibians and feeds on it. It grows through the skin forming a network of rhizoids that originate spherical sporangia that contains spores.
The infection caused by the amphibian chytrid fungus is called chytridiomycosis. It causes a series of symptoms, including reddening of the skin, lethargy, convlusions, anorexia and excessive thickening and shedding of the skin. This thickening of the skin leads to problems in taking in nutrients, releasing toxins and even breathing, eventually leading to death.
Since its discovery and naming in 1998, the amphibian chytrid fungus has devastated the populations of many amphibian species throughout the world. Some species, such as the golden toad and the Rabb’s fringe-limbed treefrog, were recently extinct by this terrible fungus. This whole drastic scenario is already considered one of the most severe examples of Holocene extinction. The reason for such a sudden increase in the infections is unknown, but it may be related to human impact on the environment.
We can only hope to find a way to reduce the spread of this nightmare to biodiversity.
– – –
Fisher, M., Garner, T., & Walker, S. (2009). Global Emergence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Amphibian Chytridiomycosis in Space, Time, and Host Annual Review of Microbiology, 63 (1), 291-310 DOI: 10.1146/annurev.micro.091208.073435
Wikipedia. Batrachochytridium dendrobatidis. Available at <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batrachochytrium_dendrobatidis>. Access on March 4, 2017.
Wikipedia. Chytridiomycosis. Available at <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chytridiomycosis>. Access on March 4, 2017.
Wikipedia. Decline in amphibian populations. Available at <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_in_amphibian_populations>. Access on March 4, 2017.
– – –
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.