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Where salamanders should be very afraid

Three hot spots in North America highly vulnerable if killer Bsal fungus invades

2:27pm, July 30, 2015

DON’T LET THE FUNGUS GET ME  North America’s extreme diversity of salamanders (lungless Ensatina eschscholtzii from the West Coast shown) could face catastrophic losses if the deadly Bsal fungus invades via the international live-animal trade. 

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A salamander-killing fungus hitchhiking via the international live-animal trade may prove especially disastrous if it invades three regions of North America.  

Biologists haven’t reported the deadly fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal, loose on the continent yet, say Tiffany Yap of UCLA and her colleagues in the July 31 Science. But North America’s native salamanders might have little resistance to a disease thought to have jumped out of Asia before going on a recent salamander killing spree in Europe (SN: 11/29/14, p. 6). The researchers warn that Bsal, which can eat away skin, might cause particularly deep population declines or extinctions of these amphibians in

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