Low Levels of Chytrid Found in Philippines


Over 30% of all amphibians species worldwide are threatened with extinction, and one of the largest threats comes from the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium (Bd). It has been directly associated with the extinction of over 150 amphibian species in many parts of the world, and its effects are amplified in combination with habitat destruction and climate change.

We tested 3,000 frogs from at least 30 species for the presence of Bd. At least seven species of frogs were infected with the fungus, all of which are associated with aquatic environments and typically found in clear, fast-flowing mountain streams and rivers. All but one of these species are only found on the Philippines.

Infection levels were generally low (3-10% of our samples), but high levels (>10%) were found at two sampling sites. This level of infection is known to result in the decline or extinction of amphibian populations.

Our results show that Bd is present throughout the Philippines. While the Islands have yet to see mass die-offs or local extinctions caused by fungus, the potential for large-scale extinctions is nonetheless present.

We recommend more extensive surveying of the Philippines, additional research on the effects of Bd on amphibians, and the establishment of long-term monitoring and research programs involving government agencies, research and academic institutions and conservation groups.

–Tucker Walton

Diesmos, M.L.D., A.C. Diesmos, C.D. Siler, V.T. Vredenburg, and R.M. Brown. 2012. Detecting the distribution of the chytrid fungus in the Philippines. pdf