Whether black-bellied or red-backed, blue- or white-spotted, gray-cheeked or four-toed, all of America's nearly 200 salamander species now face a new threat with potentially disastrous consequences.
A deadly skin-eating fungus called Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (literally "devouring salamanders"), or Bsal, is spreading like wildfire in Europe and could soon jump to the United States through the pet trade.
With a mortality rate of 96 percent, the new fungus has practically wiped out fire salamanders in the Netherlands. Lab tests show that the fungus is fatal to American salamanders, and infected salamanders have been documented in the pet trade.
Once the disease enters wild populations, it'll be near-impossible to stop.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the power to prevent this invasion. Under the Lacey Act, the agency can suspend the import of all salamanders unless screened with a DNA test.
January 20, 2015 Action Alert ID# 170
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