The trouble with leaky frog skin: the deadly double jeopardy

Deadly fungus damages frog skin during shedding

The deadly chytrid fungal infection, affecting more than 500 species worldwide, challenges our ongoing attempts to conserve our fragile native frog species.

Frogs shed their skin normally around every three to four days, but increase the rate of shedding in the presence of skin diseases to try and remove the fungus more quickly.

But Nicholas Wu (the University of Queensland) and colleagues have shown that the process of skin shedding makes the skin ‘leakier’, meaning more critical body salts leak out.

There’s a deadly double act: they have found, for species susceptible to the fungus, the combined effects of increased skin shedding and the direct effects of the fungus act to kill frogs sooner.

This poses another layer of difficulties within the conservation efforts for our frogs.

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