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It’s the City Life for Me! Spring Peepers in Urban Areas have Lower Rates of Fungal Infection

Photo of Spring peeper. USDA Forest ServiceSpring peeper. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : The spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) is a small frog widespread throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada. A Forest Service study reports that spring peepers in urban areas had significantly lower rates of a fungal infection than peepers from forested sites.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Saenz, Daniel 
Research Location : Nacogdoches, TX; Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest, TX; Davy Crockett National Forest, TX
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 935


Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a widespread fungus known to cause the disease chytridiomycosis, which can be lethal to many frogs. Forest Service researchers compared Bd occurrence rates on spring peepers, a small species of frog widespread throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada, in urban and forested breeding sites in eastern Texas. There were significant differences in the occurrence of Bd between habitats, with dramatically lower rates of occurrence at urban sites (20 percent) compared to forested sites (63 percent). The exact reason for the observed differences in the occurrence of Bd is not known; however, warmer temperatures or lower population densities and lower species richness at urban sites all could play a role. These findings suggest that although urbanization disturbs natural habitats, it may also provide a refuge for some frogs from at least one pathogen.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Stephen F. Austin State University

Program Areas