Tropical Amphibians Face Extinction Within the Next Century

Over the next 100 years, our planet’s tropical amphibians may go extinct.

A new study found that in the last 30-40 years, 200 frog species have gone extinct around the world and that hundreds more may disappear in the next century. Habitat loss and destruction, climate change and deadly diseases are the factors that put these amphibians at risk.

John Alroy, associate professor in biological sciences at the Macquarie University in Australia authored the study. To estimate the number of extinct species, he looked at samples from museums of amphibians and reptiles in nine different regions and compared them to published observations.

Photo by Diana Robinson / CC BY-ND 2.0
Photo by Diana Robinson / CC BY-ND 2.0

Some of the worst rates of extinction were in Latin America, possibly due to the chytrid fungus. Alroy says:

“There’s pretty good agreement that the biggest threat for amphibians is the [chytrid] (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) fungus. However, I think habitat destruction might have a bigger role than people realize — and future climate change is going to have huge and unpredictable consequences.”

While tropical amphibians face high extinction rates, those in the Southeast United States do not. In addition, reptiles in all regions faced low extinction rates except in a few areas like Madagascar.

 
 
Featured image by Jan Hazevoet / CC BY 2.0

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