BEIJING, Nov. 28 (Xinhuanet) — Scientists predict that Britain’s toad population could face extinction in some areas within 10 years due to an infectious fungal disease Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, media reported Wednesday.
The big unknown is just how long the fungus, which lives on the skin of host amphibians, can survive on its own in water. Scientists fear it may be a very long time.
“We start to see dramatic effects if the chytrid (fungus) lives for longer than seven weeks outside the host,” said Mat Fisher of Imperial College in UK.
“We strongly suspect that it can live for longer because of the devastating effect it has had elsewhere, and the new mathematical models show that this would be very bad news for toads in this country.”
If the fungus is able to live outside the host for a year, there would be a severe decline in the overall population of the European common toad (Bufo bufo) in Britain and, in some places, extinction in 10 years.
The disease has already destroyed entire amphibian populations in Central and South America, and Australia, and is a growing problem in some parts of Europe. Scientists have linked its spread to global warming.