Photo by @davidherasimtschuk and @freshwatersillustrated. An awkward wrinkly orb of squirming rough-skinned newts work to accomplish the next generation in a tributary to Oregon's Willamette River. These comical little guys are always great to see in such large numbers. Along with other salamanders and newts, they play a huge role in maintaining healthy forest and aquatic ecosystems. Recent research has actually found that salamanders play a role in reducing the amount of Carbon that enters the atmosphere, further demonstrating the hidden importance of these animals. In some North American forests salamanders and newts make up more biomass than any other group of vertebrates, yet unfortunately this incredible group of amphibians is now facing an extremely serious threat. An emerging fungal pathogen known as Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or “Bsal,” has caused massive die offs of salamanders in Europe. The consequences of Bsal invading North America and other parts of the world would be severe and irreversible. Research has found that the infection is fatal to many species including the rough-skinned newt, a common and important species in the Pacific Northwest. Currently Bsal is not know to occur in North America, but there is a very serious threat that the fungus could spread. Transmitted through the pet trade, the main hosts are Asian Salamanders, which carry but aren’t impacted by the disease. Many passionate biologists are working tirelessly to contain the spread of Bsal but the public can also play a large role. By Discouraging the trade and purchase of exotic salamanders and making sure not to release pet salamanders into the wild you can help in protecting native salamanders.
#everydayextinction #biodiversity #extinction #endangeredspecies #salamanders #amphibians #disease