LONDON, Oct. 3 (UPI) — A virus that makes frogs bleed to death is wiping them out in much of Britain, biologists said.
The ranavirus has killed off 80 percent of common frogs in the worst-hit areas and threatens other amphibians, a senior research fellow at the Zoological Society of London told The Sunday Telegraph.
Scientist Trent Garner said, “Many of these populations are hanging on by a handful of frogs. If the disease causes the frog populations to fall so low then so many other factors come into play that could cause local extinctions.”
The researchers examined frog numbers in a selection of populations around the country where ranavirus disease has been reported since 1996.
In half of the populations surveyed, there were repeated outbreaks. In almost a quarter of the cases, frog numbers dropped by more than 80 per cent.
Ranavirus is thought to have appeared in Britain in the 1980s, introduced through imported fish or amphibians. The plague was first reported in the southeast England and has spread as far as Manchester, Cornwall and Wales.
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