The decline of the sharp-snouted day frog (Taudactylus acutirostris): the first documented case of extinction by infection in a free-ranging wildlife species?

Schloegel, Lisa M., Hero, Jean-Marc, Berger, Lee, Speare, Rick, McDonald, Keith, and Daszak, Peter (2006) The decline of the sharp-snouted day frog (Taudactylus acutirostris): the first documented case of extinction by infection in a free-ranging wildlife species? EcoHealth, 3 (1). pp. 35-40.

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Abstract

Infectious diseases are increasingly recognized as the cause of mass mortality events, population declines, and the local extirpation of wildlife species. In a number of cases, it has been hypothesized that pathogens have caused species extinctions in wildlife. However, there is only one definitively proven case of extinction by infection, and this was in a remnant captive population of a Polynesian tree snail. In this article, we review the potential involvement of infectious disease in the recent extinction of the sharp-snouted day frog Taudactylus acutirostris. Our review of available evidence suggests that a virulent pathogen of amphibians, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, caused a rapid, catastrophic decline of this species, from which it did not recover. We propose that this is the first case of extinction by infection of a free-ranging wildlife species where disease acted as both the proximate and ultimate cause of extinction. This highlights a probable underreporting of infectious disease as a cause of biodiversity loss historically and currently.

Item ID: 4184
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1612-9210
Keywords: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; amphibian population declines; wildlife disease; chytrid; extinction; fungus
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2009 02:44
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960810 Mountain and High Country Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 51%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960409 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Mountain and High Country Environments @ 49%
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