Experts have urged the public to help them understand why frogs in Australia are dying in mass groups over the second winter – people have found dozens of dead frogs since last year
A mysterious disease is leaving frogs dropping dead in large numbers across Australia for the second year in a row – and no one is sure why.
Residents are being urged to track the number of deaths via an app to help experts looking for answers.
They are also being urged to send their reports of sick or dead frogs to the Australian Museum in a bid to bring the crisis under control.
Biologist Jodi Rowley of the University of New South Wales tweeted: “Thousands of dead and dying frogs were found across Australia last winter.
“In the past few weeks, as it’s cooled, we’ve started to get scary similar reports.”
Sick, old and wounded frogs are likely to die because their immune systems slow down in the winter, but scientists fear there may be another reason for the mass deaths.
It comes after there was a significant spike in deaths in late June and July last year, the Independent reports.
Experts have warned that the alarming numbers could have “very real consequences” for frog populations, with fears they could affect entire ecosystems.
Researchers said a “remarkable 1,600 people” alerted them to sick or dead frogs across the country during the coronavirus lockdowns, the interviewee reports.
According to the reports, each person described finding dozens of lifeless frogs belonging to more than 40 species, with a death toll in excess of a thousand.
Scientists confirmed that there are “many possible suspects” that could be causing the reptiles’ sudden die-off, adding that the amphibian chytrid fungus was “certainly involved”.
Research has previously shown that the fungus kills frogs, salamanders, newts and other amphibians by targeting their skin, which they use to breathe.
But experts aren’t convinced the fungus is the only cause of frog deaths and said they are also studying the role of toxins.
“We tested for parasitic, bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens,” they said.
“These tests include looking for pathogens that are known to kill frogs and also looking for possible new pathogens, which is by far the more difficult task.”
To keep up to date with all the latest news, be sure to subscribe to one of our newsletters here .