Deadly fungus threatens U.S. salamanders

By Brittany Abuhoff
Staff Writer

A black and white salamander

Photo: Cotinis / photo on Flickr

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to stop the spread of a fungal skin infection that is deadly to salamanders.

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal, has been responsible for several declines in salamander populations across Europe, specifically in Belgium and the Netherlands.

According to a statement released Monday by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Appalachian Mountains could see a decline in salamanders if Bsal comes into the country.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has outlawed the importing of over 200 species of salamander in order to prevent the spreading of the disease.

The federal agency says that this issue poses the most threat in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

North America is home to about 50 percent of species worldwide. Specifically, Mexico and the Appalachian Mountains each are home to more than 100 breeds, making it a global hotspot in biodiversity.

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