Ecology

Frogs Imported to Calif. Blamed for Fungus Killing Native Counterparts

Have likely killed huge numbers

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Bay Area scientists believe they have discovered the Typhoid Mary of the frog world: a flat, feral creature that carried a deadly fungus from Africa to California's ponds and puddles through global trading.

Genetic analysis revealed that eight of 206 African clawed frogs—caught wild or preserved in jars at the California Academy of Sciences—carried the fungal plague called chytridiomycosis, which leaves them unharmed but kills native frogs in catastrophic numbers.

An infection was detected in a frog captured in Africa in 1934, supporting the theory that the fungus thrived there before spreading worldwide. Another infected frog, still alive, was recently trapped in Golden Gate Park's Lily Pond.