Blood Samples Show Deadly Frog Fungus at Work in the Wild
The fungal infection that killed a record number of amphibians worldwide leads to deadly dehydration in frogs in the wild, according to results of a new study.
High levels of an aquatic, chytrid fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) disrupt fluid and electrolyte balance in wild frogs, the scientists say, severely depleting the frogs' sodium and potassium levels and causing cardiac arrest and death.
Their findings confirm what researchers have seen in carefully controlled lab experiments with the fungus, but San Francisco State University biologist Vance Vredenburg said the data from wild frogs provide a much better idea of how the disease progresses.
"The mode of death discovered in the lab seems to be what's actually happening in the field," he said, "and it's that understanding that is key to doing something about it in the future."