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Scientists Call For Ban On Imported Salamanders

Based on a new study published in the journal Science, scientists in California are seeking a ban on imported salamanders. Vance Vredenburg, lead study author and a biologist from the San Francisco State University, Tiffany Yap, one of his grad students, and his colleagues from the University of California Berkley have asked the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to put a ban on salamander imports in hopes of fending off the deadly fungus called Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans.


Could this blue-tailed, fire-bellied fellow be trouble?/Image: RadekSejkora

The Bsal as it is otherwise known has already caused significant damage in Europe. The group of scientists is hoping the agency will put a ban into effect until a plan is devised to both detect and prevent the fungus spread.   Vredenburg reported the potential danger and believes a ban will aid in avoiding a catastrophe.

Out of the approximately three quarters of a million salamanders imported into the US between the years 2010 and 2014, these salamanders, 99 percent came from Asia where the deadly fungus probably originated. The main carriers of the fungus are believed to be the Tam Dao or Vietnamese salamander, a.k.a. Paramesotriton deloustali, the blue tailed fire bellied newt, a.k.a. Cynops cyanurus and the Japanese fire belied newt, also known as Cynops pyrrhogaster.

Approximately 91 percent of the salamanders imported onto the continent of North America are from either the Cynops or the Paramesotriton groups. Experts such as herpetologists are concerned the fungus could spread to North America.

The investigative team has also learned that two of the most common salamanders in the US—the eastern newt and the rough skinned newt– are prone to succumbing to the fungus, they are even more urgent in their cries for an immediate ban on imported salamanders. Vredenburg is worried about a potential ecological crisis.

He concludes: “This is the hot bed in the world for diversity of amphibians, and if that fungus gets here, it’s going to be devastating.”

Scientists Call For Ban On Imported Salamanders

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.