In DepthConservation Biology

The coming salamander plague

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Science  31 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6209, pp. 530-531
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6209.530

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A fungus from Asia has been identified as a new threat to amphibians. On page 630 in this week's issue of Science, researchers show that Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans migrated, likely via imported amphibians, to Europe, where it is killing endangered salamanders. North America, the global center of salamander diversity, could be next. Scientists hope advance warning of this devastating fungus will accelerate efforts to control the trade in exotic pets. Bills in the U.S. Congress would increase the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Service to stop the arrival of new wildlife diseases. A new E.U. animal health law, expected next year, could also help. Large pet companies say they treat imported amphibians to prevent the spread of pathogens.