Scientist have discovered that there is a tadpole disease that is not discrimination on climate or environment, allowing it to prey on tadpoles around the globe. And with this new threat, they are concerned it could mean the end for the amphibian group altogether.
According to British researchers, tadpoles have begun to contract a new, highly infectious disease across population from around the world. The parasitic disease caused by single-celled microbes known as “protists” was discovered in the livers of tadpole samples from six separate countries across three continents. These parasites are complex and they store DNA in a nucleus, just like ours.
The new data has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal, according to Nature World Report.
The disease they found in the tadpoles has been infecting them in both temperate and tropical sites. They also discovered that the disease is a distant relative of oyster parasites.
“Global frog populations are suffering serious declines and infectious disease has been shown to be a significant factor,” said Thomas Richards of Exeter University, who co-led the study. “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 causes significant disease and could be contributing to the frog population declines.”
To many people’s surprise, amphibians, which includes frogs and toads, are at the top of the list for animal groups threatened by extinction. In 2008, 32 percent of frog species were categorized as almost extinct with another 42 percent on the decline.
At this point, experts are comparing the dropping number of amphibians from the Earth to the extinction of the dinosaurs that happened in just 250 years. They are calling it Earth’s sixth “mass extinction event.”