Feeds

UK's toads menaced by fungal attack

'Severe decline' likely, scientists predict

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Scientists have predicted that the UK's toad population will suffer extinction in some areas within 10 years due to a deadly infectious fungal disease introduced into Britain via North American bullfrogs.

While the original non-native vectors of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis have now been exterminated, the disease has persisted, and has been detected in Kent, Reuters reports.

Researchers from Imperial College London and the Institute of Zoology formulated a mathematical model which pointed to its eventual spread with "devastating" consequences for the European common toad (Bufo bufo).

Just how apocalyptic the scenario is depends on how long the fungus can survive in water when not flourishing on amphibian skin. Scientists believe it could be "a very long time", and Mat Fisher of Imperial College elaborated: "We start to see dramatic effects if the chytrid [fungus] lives for longer than seven weeks outside the host.

"We strongly suspect that it can live for longer because of the devastating effect it has had elsewhere, and the new models show that this would be very bad news for toads in this country."

The disease has indeed already done for entire amphibian populations in Australia and Central and South America, and is now menacing European toads. Scientists have, perhaps inevitably, "linked its spread to global warming".

The bottom line is that if Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis can live outside the host for a year, this would provoke a "severe decline" in the overall UK toad population and its complete disappearance from some areas within a decade.

Whatever the eventual outcome, the common British frog (Rana temporaria) will be unaffected, since it's immune to the disease.

The reserachers' findings are published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.