Fungal infection threatens European salamanders: Study

A fungal infection threatens European salamanders: experts warn

A fungal infection that hit northern European countries many years ago behaves as a “perfect storm” and may end up wiping out almost all vulnerable species, experts have warned.

The lethal fungus, dubbed B. salamandrivorans (Bsal), left almost all fire salamanders dead in an outbreak occurred in The Netherlands in the year of 2014. Wild salamanders and newts in Germany and Belgium have also suffered outbreaks since then.

The disease caused by this fungus persists in the environment and it may spread through newts and birds. Now, a team of researchers led by Martel of Ghent University in Belgium has called for urgent monitoring across the continent.

Imperial College London’s Matthew Fisher said, “More must be done to try to conserve fire salamanders and other susceptible amphibian species that have restricted ranges and are under direct threat of extinction from Bsal. It is currently unclear how Bsal can be combated in the wild.”

The researchers have cautioned that zoos and gene banks are the only conservation option that could help revive the vulnerable species in case of a deadly outbreak.

The researchers published their alarming findings in the most recent edition of the journal Nature.