Friday, May 17, 2013

Frog talk, meet the African Clawed Frog

Aka: "Typhoid Mary".

Silicon Valley Mercury News/Lisa M. Krieger, 5/15/13.  "Frogs imported to California likely transmitted deadly fungal disease."  

I'm cute, but I eat everything smaller than me
Bay Area scientists believe they have discovered the Typhoid Mary of the frog world: a flat, feral creature that carried a deadly fungus from Africa to California's ponds and puddles through global trading.  Genetic analysis revealed that eight of 206 African clawed frogs -- caught wild or preserved in jars at the California Academy of Sciences -- carried the fungal plague called chytridiomycosis, which leaves them unharmed but kills native frogs in catastrophic numbers.

An infection was detected in a frog captured in Africa in 1934, supporting the theory that the fungus thrived there before spreading worldwide. Another infected frog, still alive, was recently trapped in Golden Gate Park's Lily Pond.Because the frogs are widely dispersed across the globe, Green and Vredenburg said containing the epidemic is a major challenge. The well-established fungus also can spread through water, wind and feathers of birds, Green said.

....  The frogs' use, sale and transport are now highly regulated in California, but the damage has been done, they said. (A pygmy version, a favorite of aquarium enthusiasts, is less hardy, so it's not considered a threat.)  "Now we need to be cautious about other introduced species," Vredenburg said. "There could be other animals out there that are carrying diseases that we don't even know about yet."   Read article.

Related e, "African clawed frogs are aquatic creatures that are easy to look after. Albino frogs will share aquariums with other fish and frogs of same or larger size, but they are carnivorous predators.Because of their scavenger nature, they will eat any creature smaller in size than they are."   That Reptile Blog, "African clawed frogs are boisterous, hardy beasts that eat most anything, prepared foods included, and are easily trained to feed from the hand. Captive longevity approaches 30 years."  Note:  photograph from California Herps. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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