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Fungus threatens to wipe out Philippine frogs:

MANILA (AFP) — A deadly frog fungus that has wiped out hundreds of amphibian species in the Americas is now devastating the populations of five frog species in the Philippines, experts said Wednesday.

A two-year nationwide survey by a team of US and Filipino scientists found that the Philippines has become the third country in Asia to be hit by the chytrid fungus.

The fungus, which attacks the skin of frogs and salamanders and affects the formation of tadpoles' body parts, is also present in Japan and Indonesia.

The Luzon striped frog, Rana similis, one of five affected endemic species, has practically disappeared from the lowland forests of Mount Labo on the southeast tip of the main Philippine island of Luzon, said Arvin Diesmos, curator of amphibians and reptiles at the National Museum of the Philippines.

The Luzon stream frog (Rana luzonensis), two species of the Luzon fanged frog (Limnonectes woodworth and Limnonectes macrocephalus), and the Puddle frog (Occidozyga laevis) were also found to be infected in Labo and the Palay-palay mountain range near Manila.

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