A latest study has found that a newly defined fungal disease is claiming lives of European salamanders and newts and it could gradually land on the shores of the Unites States.
According to the researchers, the fungal disease has the potential to invade the skin of these creatures and kill them.
While probing a huge crash in the fire salamanders population in the Netherlands last year, the researchers discovered the previously unknown fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans.
The researchers said that this newly found disease is related to another fungus that has been responsible for the wipe out of the population of frog and other amphibians worldwide.
The study conducted by the researchers at Ghent University along with an international team of scientists and led by Professors An Martel and Frank Pasmans (both from the same varsity).
Talking about the threat of the new fungal disease, study researcher and biologist Karen Lips, from the University of Maryland, said, “If it gets here, it’s going to be really bad.’
The scientists say the growing menace of the new fungus disease and its spread in the United States can be tackled with only quick and urgent action.
It is worth mentioning, the US is home to the salamander diversity. According to the North Carolina-based Highlands Biological Station, a major population of the salamander species lives in the southern Appalachian Mountains than any other part of the planets. Salamandrivorans fungus is very dangerous to newts and salamanders. But they don’t pose threat to frogs, toads and snake-like amphibians called caecilians.
While elaborating upon the findings, Professor Martel said, “When a disease has been around for a long time, animals develop resistance to it. Globalisation has led in the movement of humans and animals all across the world, bringing pathogens into contact with hosts that haven’t had the opportunity to establish resistance. As a consequence, pathogens like B. salamandrivorans that are brought to a new environment can very rapidly threaten many species with extinction.”
The researchers also found that these fungi can get easily communicated between salamanders of different species by direct contact.
Asian salamanders and newts are hugely traded in worldwide. Over 2.3 million Chinese fire belly newts were imported into the US from 2001 to 2009.
The study was published on Thursday in the journal Science.
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