Europe’s fire salamanders have been devastated by flesh-eating fungus (Image: B. Tapley/ZSL) Legally protected great crested newts are in danger from a catastrophic amphibian plague sweeping Europe. Although our three wild newt species appear free from the rampaging fungus, scientists are warning collectors to enforce strict biosecurity measures to stop its devastating march. The experts say the fungus is already “widespread” in captive newt collections across the UK and owners must ensure it does not get into the ponds and wetlands where wild newts still flourish. Related articles Deadly superbugs in our oceans spread by PLASTIC Scientists ‘significant step’ in BRINGING BACK iconic Woolly Mammoth The catastrophic damage threatened by the fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), is highlighted by the plight of the spectacular fire salamander in the Netherlands. In 2010, the fungus wiped out 99 percent of a monitored population of the species, leading to local extinctions. Research carried out by the Zoological Society of London, the University of Exeter and the Amphibian and Reptile Groups of the UK, published today in the journal, Scientific Reports, reveals that Bsal was absent in skin samples taken from 2,400 wild newts in ponds across the country. Data from newt deaths reported to… Read full this story
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