Saving the last mouth brooding frogs: is chytridiomycosis driving darwin's frogs to extiction?
Soto Azat, Claudio
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Darwin's frogs (Rhinoderma darwinii and R. rufum) are two species of mouth brooding frogs from Chile and Argentina , which have experienced marked population declines including in undisturbed ecosystems. Rhinoderma rufum has not been recorded since 1980. In this context amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by infection with the non-hyphal, zoosporic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been hypothesized to be involved in these enigmatic declines. Current evidence indicates the recent global spread of a panzootic strain (BdGPL) of this often-fatal pathogen via the amphibian trade. The African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) in particular, has been implicated as a vector of BdGPL. Here, I present evidence on the extent of declines, current distribution , abundance and conservation status of Rhinoderma spp. and investigate whether X. laevis can act as a vector of Bd to two native amphibians of central Chile. Also, 1 describe historical and current evidence for Bd infection in Rhinoderma spp. to investigate whether chytridiomycosis is implicated in the population decline of R. darwinii and the presumed extinction of R. rufum