What is Chytrid Fungus?

The Chytrid Fungus is a dangerous, deadly and extremely infectious disease that affects amphibians.  Chytrid Fungus or simply "Chytrid" is shortened for Chytridiomycosis and technically not the words you want to hear if you are an amphibian. Chytrid Fungus is directly linked to the decline of numerous species of amphibians, some of which also went extinct due to fungus.

Facts about Chytrid:

  • First discovered in amphibians 1998
  • Derived from the Greek words batrachos and chytra (which mean frog and earthen pot)
  • Has two primary life stages a zoosporangium and a zoospore.
  • Zoospores are mobile and attracted to proteins and sugars found on the amphibians skin.
  • Chytrid fungus originated in Africa and was known to exist there well before it was discovered in captive frogs.
  • It is believed that African Clawed Frogs caused the spread of the diseases to different regions.
  • American Bull Frogs, an invasive species in many places, is also responsible for the continued spread.

Why it's so dangerous!

Chyrtid fungus is a fast moving fungus that derailed scientists in many ways. To explain things in the most simple fashion, the life cycle of Chyrtid produces an aquatic zoospore that is capable of going where ever the water current takes it, and it ends up coming in contact with hosts (amphibians) farther down stream.  The zoospores are capable of swimming small distances and if they are luckily enough to get in close proximity then they are able to swim and penetrate the amphibians skin.  Once inside they form a protective cyst and start to reproduce.  The zoospores become zoosporangium which release into more zoospores in to the water, and the cycle continues.

The Chyrtid Fungus is very dangerous and already responsible for the extinction of close to 100 species of amphibians and directly caused the decline of numerous other species.  Scientists and researchers are still working hard to understand Chyrtid and protect amphibians species from extinction and they have even gone as far as removing the last of the individuals from the wild.  Don't forget to check out more species of amphibians that can be affected by Chyrtid, by heading over to our the amphibian center in the kids zone.

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