While amphibian chytrid fungus is everywhere in nature, we have learned that not all frogs are impacted equally. As I mentioned before, frogs need specific environmental conditions to survive and thrive. Any changes to those conditions, especially if they happen rapidly, could spell big trouble for the frogs.
Take the Panamanian golden frog, which lives at high elevations in cloud forests where the temperature is cooler. Historically, the sun warmed the frogs up during the day. Now, there are various changes in the environment causing shifts in the seasons and extreme temperature fluctuations.
Unable to properly regulate their body temperature, Panamanian golden frogs become stressed and their immune system becomes compromised. Then, when the fungus attacks, the frogs can’t fight it off. Before chytrid fungus, these frogs used to be everywhere in their home ranges. Today, they are functionally extinct in the wild, meaning there are so few individuals left the population cannot successfully maintain itself.
Red-eyed tree frogs, on the other hand, are quite tolerant of environmental changes. They seem to be able to adapt to a variety of temperatures and habitats with minimal (if any) impact to their health. Since they are not under constant stress, their bodies can respond to and fight off emerging diseases.