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Some frogs may be bouncing back after killer chytrid fungus

Tests show the invasive pathogen isn’t weakening even as some amphibian numbers rise

By
4:15pm, March 29, 2018
speckled glass frog

NEW FROG NORMAL  Panama’s amphibians (speckled glass frog, shown) still face a killer fungus as dangerous as it was during an earlier pandemic. So researchers are looking for signs of new froggy toughness.

It’s tough to be a frog once a killer skin fungus moves in. But, in Panama, the amphibians might be fighting back, researchers propose.

More than a decade ago, an amphibian-killing chytrid fungus nicknamed Bd swept through the country. Now some frog species that had nearly vanished from three regions are growing easier to spot again. But tests of the pathogen find no signs that it is weakening, says disease ecologist Jamie Voyles at the University of Nevada, Reno. With the fungus as dangerous as ever, frogs becoming resistant to the pathogen might be enabling the recovery, Voyles and her colleagues report in the March 30 Science.

Despite any glimmer of hope, it’s too early to celebrate frog recovery, protests ecologist Karen Lips at the University of Maryland in College Park. She doesn’t doubt that researchers have found frogs in the devastated regions,

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