The Yonahlossee salamander is a woodland species from the southern Appalachian Mountains in the United States (Brian Gratwicke) The year is 1987 and it’s a beautiful day after a heavy rain in the cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica. Lots of beautiful, brilliant orange-colored frogs found nowhere else on Earth, emerged from their underground shelter in search of a female to reproduce. But suddenly without warning, these orange frogs called Golden Toads, started to disappear rapidly in the middle of this pristine area to the point of vanishing from existence. A silent killer came and led the Golden Toads to their disappearance in 1989. After the crime scene investigation, the chytrid fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatis (Bd) lurking in the forest is believed to be at least in part one of the killers in this story. The silent killer fungus, Bd, was described by Smithsonian’s National Zoo veterinarians working with a scientist from the University of Maine ( Longcore et al. 1999 ). This new fungus to science was found to cause the skin disease chytridiomycosis — which leads to a ‘heart-attack’ and death to frogs and salamanders. We now know that the killer fungus originated in Asia and that humans […]

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