A fungus that's potentially deadly for frogs has been found in ponds on P.E.I.
'It might be that the weather will actually work in the favour of the frogs.' — Maria Forzan, wildlife pathologist
Chytrid is an infection that is causing problems for frog populations around the world. The fungus, which lives in the skin of the frog, is causing 200 species of frogs to decline severely or go extinct.
This summer, a team of researchers swabbed 114 frogs at 18 ponds across the Island. More than half those ponds showed cases of chytrid.
"Some of the frogs actually go into spasms, sort of like having a seizure," Maria Forzan, a wildlife pathologist with the Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre, told CBC News last week.
"They lose weight very quickly and within three or four days, basically they're dead."
So far, it would appear chytrid is not killing many frogs on P.E.I. While most of the ponds tested were infected, only one dead frog was found. It was severely infected, and the team believes that's what killed it.
"The fungus doesn't like temperatures that are too hot or too cold, so it might be that the weather will actually work in the favour of the frogs, at least in the Maritimes," said Forzan.
Forzan and a team of biologists from UPEI plan to continue their research to see what damage the fungus is causing frogs on the Island.
Chytrid poses no threat to humans, said Forzan.
She hopes that with the knowledge that the fungus has infected Island ponds, people will take measures to avoid spreading it, such as disinfecting their boots after visiting ponds, and not moving frogs from one pond to another.