Ponds and their toads cured of dreaded disease | Science News

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Ponds and their toads cured of dreaded disease

Treating both the tadpoles and their habitat for Bd infection lets Spanish amphibians go wild again

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7:05pm, November 17, 2015
toad

MEDICINE FOR MIDWIVES  Midwife toads on the island of Majorca have kicked the lethal Bd infection in the wild thanks to an experimental treatment.

Doctoring whole ponds as well as the tadpoles living in them has turned a disease hot spot back into a healthy home for wild toads.

Majorcan midwife toads now flourish in mountain ponds once infected with the lethal chytrid fungus called Bd (for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), says Trent Garner of the Institute of Zoology in London. The fungus attacks more than 700 amphibian species on five continents, shriveling or wiping out susceptible populations and even snuffing out species.

Temporarily hospitalizing the wild tadpoles while dosing their ponds with disinfectant was the key to success, Garner, Jaime Bosch of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid and their colleagues have discovered. Four out of five ponds treated in 2013 on the Spanish island of Majorca have remained clear of any signs of Bd, the researchers report November 18 in Biology Letters.

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