What’s new in October 2017?

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans not detected in U.S. survey of pet salamanders

Blake Klocke, Matthew Becker, James Lewis, Robert C. Fleischer, Carly R. Muletz-Wolz, Larry Rockwood, A. Alonso Aguirre & Brian Gratwicke

Abstract: We engaged pet salamander owners in the United States to screen their animals for two amphibian chytrid fungal pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal). We provided pet owners with a sampling kit and instructional video to swab the skin of their animals. We received 639 salamander samples from 65 species by mail, and tested them for Bd and Bsal using qPCR. We detected Bd on 1.3% of salamanders (95% CI 0.0053–0.0267) and did not detect Bsal (95% CI 0.0000–0.0071). If Bsal is present in the U.S. population of pet salamanders, it occurs at a very low prevalence. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service listed 201 species of salamanders as “injurious wildlife” under the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. § 42) on January 28, 2016, a precautionary action to prevent the introduction of Bsal to the U.S. through the importation of salamanders. This action reduced the number of salamanders imported to the U.S. from 2015 to 2016 by 98.4%. Our results indicate that continued precautions should be taken to prevent the introduction and establishment of Bsal in the U.S., which is a hotspot of salamander biodiversity. [FULL PAPER]

Swabbing for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans on Wild Rough-skinned Newts (Taricha granulosa) and Pet-Traded Amphibians on Southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Herpetological Review, 2017, 48(3), 564–568.[FULL PAPER]