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Mallorcan midwife toad

The problem

Male midwife toads carry the developing eggs

Amphibians have suffered devastating losses worldwide in recent years. One of the main culprits of these declines is a fungal parasite that causes the deadly chytridiomycosis disease. This parasite has now been detected on every continent where amphibians are found.

Humans are thought to be the cause of this rapid movement through travel and the pet trade across the globe. Although some animals seem to be persisting with the infection, others quickly succumb to the disease and mass die-offs are common.

The solution

New research has shown the importance of symbiotic bacteria living on amphibian skin as the first line of defense against infection. However. how we use this to save amphibians is still under scrutiny.

Together with the Zoological Society of London we are studying the Mallorcan midwife toad, that is now under threat as the parasite has been inadvertently introduced to the island. The results of  this will not only benefit this frog in its natural range, but will also help in the fight to save the amphibians of the UK and overseas as new strains develop.

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