Tadpole Infecting Parasites Responsible for Rapid Decline of Frog’s Global Population and Possible Extinction

The frog population may soon become extinct according to a recent study which discovered a newly identified and contagious disease among tadpoles.   The rapid decline in the frog population is now on a global scale and these amphibians are among the most threatened animal groups and more so because along with these declines come emerging infectious diseases.

Scientists have discovered a new parasite infecting tadpoles during a study of tadpole specimen taken from 6 different countries which were tested for “protists”, or single-celled microbes that store DNA inside a nucleus, just like in human cells.  This new parasite infects tadpoles by filling their liver with thousands of foreign cells.  These parasites are found all over the world, not only in tropical but also for temperate regions alike.

Using molecular methods, an International team led by University of Exeter’s Aurelie Chambouvet and Thomas Richards,  wanted  to evaluate the prevalence and diversity of the parasites which are akin to the Perkinsea  parasite that is mostly seen among marine  animal and algae.  These microbes have been linked to a pathogen that’s closely related to a shellfish parasite called Perkinsus.  However, the microbes affecting the tadpoles are different from the Perkinsea like pathogen which could only mean that multiple Perkinsea lineages are infecting the tadpoles.

Researchers say that immediate action must be taken in order to decipher and combat this rare microbe which is a distant relative of the oyster parasites that cause serious harm and infectious diseases among tadpoles contributing as a major factor to the decline and possible extinction of the frog population.