Diseases Threatening CT's Amphibians

Links are provided if you wish to learn more about a disease.

"Red-Leg" Syndrome

  • Generally due to Aeromonas hydrophila bacteria, but viruses and fungi may also cause similar reddening

  • Found in contaminated living conditions or food

  • Signs:

    • Legs (often the inner thigh) and abdomen appear red due to hemorrhaging

    • Lethargy

    • Open sores on the skin, nose, and toes that do not heal

Ranaviruses

  • DNA-based viruses of the genus Ranavirus

  • Present within every state in the US, excluding Hawaii

  • Affects frogs, toads AND salamanders (and turtles and fish!), especially during larval stage in spring and summer

    • Infected wetland has mortality rate of 90%

  • Signs:

    • Hemorrhages from tip of chin to tip of tail; may be pinpoint or irregular patches

    • Lethargy

    • Swimming erratically, weakly, or on their sides

    • Mild to severe fluid accumulation under the skin

Chytridiomycosis

  • Not yet found in CT, but has reached 36 US states

  • Caused by fungus from Phylum Chytridiomycota (a chytrid fungus)

  • Infection causes skin to become very thick

    • Can no longer "drink" water, absorb important salts, or even "breathe" through their skin

  • Signs:

    • Bloated body due to fluid retention

    • Red underside, skin peeling

    • Lack of movement over long periods of time

    • Toe curling, mild limb paralysis, permanently tucked in head positions

“The worst infectious disease ever recorded among vertebrates in terms of the number of species impacted, and it’s propensity to drive them to extinction"

Amphibian Malformations

  • Physical abnormalities, especially in the hind legs

  • Not exactly a disease - the result of environmental factors or disease affecting development during early tadpole stages

    • From injuries from predators, a specific minute parasite (fluke), nutritional deficiencies, or contaminants

 

Photo attributed to the Center for Invasive Species Research