The sixth extinction. It came for the frogs.


  • Date of Publication: 07.30.15.


What It’s Like to Watch a Species Go Extinct

Red-bellied newt (Taricha rivularis)

Over the course of the next few years, Lips and her colleagues would identify the troubling cause of death: a fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd for short, growing all over their bodies. That’s a problem because amphibians drink and even breathe by absorbing water and oxygen directly through their skin. Bd, which belongs to a phylum of fungi called chytrids, interferes with that, messing with blood chemistry and leading to organ failure. Since Lips helped discover it, Bd has caused the collapse or extinction of over 200 amphibian species around the world—the most devastating wildlife disease ever recorded. Read more.