I'm surprised at how little these scientist seem to know about African Clawed Water Frogs, I guess it shouldn't be all that surprising since most pet stores categorize them incorrectly and sell them to people who think they are African Dwarf Frogs which stay very small. This is a large part of the reason why people let them go into the wild after their tiny little frog ends up being 9" long and devours anything that will fit in it's gigantic mouth.
What's also surprising to me is the fact that they haven't caught on to the fact that this fungus not only affects amphibians as this article emphatically states but it drastically affects any fish that are in the water with them. These frogs enjoy mainly shallow water though so any fish that are in there, generally get eaten pretty quickly due to their small size.
I on the other hand, I have successfully, albeit accidentally cultured this fungus in a large fish tank with very large and aggressive fish present with the frogs. The thing about these frogs is that they are one of the heartiest little creatures on the planet, they could survive in a cesspool for a significant period of time, it's truly amazing. In their natural environment these frogs often times live their entire lives in a single puddle, they don't even need a pond and if by chance the puddle dries up, they can also hop a significant distance trying to find more water before drying out.
This fungus came very, very close to killing a beautiful and gigantic all white Koi fish that I just recently gave away after nursing it back to health. Until I started reading about this fungus, I had no idea why some of my very expensive, very large & very aggressive fish were dying on me out of the blue until I took some samples & put them under a few different microscopes that I have. I assure you, if exposed for an extended period of time, this still will kill anything that happens to be stuck in the water with these tremendous creatures.
The reason this problem has arose is that none of the frogs "captured" in CA actually originated there, all you need is a male & a female to be dumped in just about any water source that doesn't freeze over entirely and within two months, there will be hundreds of little frogs. I've bred these frogs very successfully, currently i'm trying to breed the albino female with a non-albino male which would have worked already had my female not become morbidly obese since I've had her for so long. It's amazing to watch them breed and to watch them go from egg to frog, it's like watching evolution right before you eyes, the only problem is that if you are not careful, you'll end up with far too many frogs to take care of or even get rid of in a responsible manner. These frogs will do the nasty for 12 hours at a time, the male wraps it's arms around her waste and just holds on for dear life as she drags him at full speed, all over the tank for hours at a time. In a single night, a female African Clawed Water Frog can easily lay 300-500 eggs but thankfully they will eat every last one of them within a day if you allow them to do so.
It's an awesome process and it's easy to see why they are so invasive because within 24 hours of the egg being laid & fertilized, it has already changed from a little round dot with a membrane around it, to a little white squiggly thing that can only swim very tiny distances before it sinks to the bottom and tries again. Within a week they go from freshly laid egg to full fledge tadpole, the albinos are particularly interesting because as tadpoles they are not just white or translucent but they are entirely transparent. So much so that you can actually clearly see the tadpoles heart inside of it's body and every time it pumps you can see the tiny little veins fill up with blood. Easily inside of just one month the tadpoles with grow legs, lose their tales and become full fledged baby frogs or froglets. If you breed them then this is the time to sell them because no one will want them once they get huge but that's the very problem at it's core, I live in MA so they cannot survive the winter here and are not a real threat to our ecosystem but I guarantee that if I were to let a male & female go into a small pond around April, that pond would be filled with hundreds, if not thousands of frogs by the time it got cold enough to freeze over but it would take a deep freeze to kill off all of them, that's how hearty they are and why they are such a threat, not to mention illegal in many states.
I find it sadly amusing that I am a complete amateur without a lab to work in, yet I seem to know a lot more about both, this species of frog as well as the different kinds of fungai that they carry. Especially considering the places where you can most certainly find these frogs living, I'd bet dollars to donuts that large quantities of these frogs can be found throughout our sewer systems in all of the southern and southwestern states. I would not be surprised at all if these things could easily survive in water that's contaminated with just about anything, even nuclear waste but if that were the case then I'd be terrified to see what they would become considering the biggest one I have already looks like Frogzilla.
These are really cool, fun and very easy pets to have but don't be an a hole! If they get too big or you don't want them anymore for some other reason then there are plenty of pet stores that will be happy to take them off your hands because they require almost no maintenance at all, they will eat as much as you feed them but they can also go a very, very long time without any food or even a light or heat source so it costs nothing for pet stores to take them off your hands and they will profit off of them. That being said, do the right thing if you are getting rid of these guys and don't let them go anywhere that doesn't get very cold in the winter or they will take over the entire body of water and possibly even spread to other bodies of water if close enough to one another.
These frogs can even survive in brackish or even full saltwater for some time before it dries them out so don't be surprised if you find them in estuaries or other places that connect to the ocean, they actually fair quite well in brackish water surprisingly enough.
There's no question though at least in my mind, that this fungus found on these frogs certainly spreads to any fish that are large & aggressive enough to survive the mere presence of these frogs, it takes a significant amount of time to manifest and will do so faster the more stagnant the water is. I don't know if the fish can carry & transmit it to other critters but eventually it will kill even the largest & most powerful of fish.
Sorry for the diatribe, I just find that whenever I find stuff about these critters on the internet, they never seem to give great information about them. Going on four or five years now, even when I had about 50 of them, I have never had a single frog die while in the water even when I had my biggest one in a tank with three massive & extremely vicious turtles (red eared & yellow bellied sliders), she still managed to survive their wrath but that was back before I really knew any better. The only time in the last five years that any of these frogs have died has been entirely because they managed to jump out of the tank. They are escape artists, especially if unhappy for some reason and the biggest frog is able to squeeze it's fat body through the tiniest of openings and boy can they jump when they want to.