National Geographic : 2019 Oct
THREAT: DISEASE Since the 1980s, a fungal disease called chytridiomycosis, likely spread through direct contact and by infected water, has ravaged global amphibian populations. More than 500 species have been affected; 90 of these may be extinct. The fungus disrupts transmission of electrolytes through the skin of a frog or toad, ultimately stopping its heart. 1. Andersson’s stubfoot toad, Atelopus palmatus (CR) This Ecuadorian native, plagued by chytrid fungus, is also losing habitat to agriculture and urbanization. Its population has declined more than 80 percent over the past decade. 2. Espada’s marsupial frog, Gastrotheca testudinea (LC) A rare tree frog from the eastern Andes of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, Espada’s is less vulnerable to the fungus because, unlike most frogs, it doesn’t lay its eggs near water. The female hatches them in a pouch on her back. 3. Silver marsupial frog, Gastrotheca plumbea (VU) Habitat fragmentation and loss from agriculture and fire have hit this Ecuadorian mountain frog particularly hard. 4. Sehuencas water frog, Telmatobius yuracare (VU) For 10 years this frog, called Romeo, was thought to be the last of his kind. But on a 2018 expedition in Bolivia, scientists captured five more—including three potential mates. 5. Tabasara robber frog, Craugastor tabasarae (CR) Though chytrid fungus has nearly wiped this species out, researchers still report hearing it in Panamanian forests. 1, 2, 3: JAMBATU CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION OF AMPHIBIANS, ECUADOR 4: KAYRA CENTER, ALCIDE D’ORBIGNY NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, BOLIVIA 5: EL VALLE AMPHIBIAN CONSERVATION CENTER, PANAMA 5. 3. 1.