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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Remove the chytrid fungus from ponds Amphibian Conservation

Key messages

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  • One before-and-after study in Mallorca found that pond drying and fungicidal treatment of resident midwife toads reduced levels of infection but did not eradicate chytridiomycosis.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A before-and-after study in 2009–2010 of a pond in Mallorca (Lubick 2010) found that drying out the pond and treating resident Mallorcan midwife toads Alytes muletensis with a fungicide reduced the prevalence but did not eradicate chytridiomycosis. All samples from tadpoles came back positive for the chytrid fungus the spring after pond drying and treatment. However, the number of spores detected on each swab was lower than the previous year, suggesting a lower level of infection. Healthy-looking toads were seen breeding in the pond following pond drying and treatment. Over 2,000 toad tadpoles were removed from the pond in March–August 2009. The pond was emptied and left to dry over the summer. Tadpoles were taken to a laboratory and given daily five minute baths in the fungicide itraconazole for one week. They were held in captivity for up to seven months. Once the pond refilled in autumn, tadpoles were released. The following spring tadpoles were swabbed to test for chytridiomycosis.


Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Smith, R.K., Meredith, H. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Amphibian Conservation. Pages 9-65 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.