Caecilians from the Order Gymnophiona are the least well known group of amphibians. These legless amphibians spend almost their entire lives underground, in the leaf litter or underwater. Because they are so cryptic, up until now, virtually nothing was known about the impacts of the amphibian chytrid fungus on these animals. However, a team of scientists recently surveyed 200 different caecilian individuals from both South America and Africa and found that nearly 30% of these caecilians had the amphibian chytrid fungus. Even more disturbing, several caecilians from the study are reported to have died due to chytridiomycosis. This indicates that the disease may be impacting not only frogs, which are the most visible amphibians, but also the fossorial caecilians and salamanders. I find this highly disturbing since so little is known about caecilians at this time that it would be difficult to even observe population declines. More research is needed to investigate what factors determine caecilian susceptibility to the deadly chytrid fungus.
Frog: 8, Fungus: 9