Vietnamese salamanders vulnerable

Asia is largely thought to have escaped from the global spread of the amphibian chytrid fungus, since several surveys have not detected any large scale infections or die-offs (although Bd has been found in several places in Asia). However, recent evidence shows that the rare vietnamese salamanders from the genus Tylototriton are extremely susceptible to the amphibian chytrid fungus. These salamanders live in montane areas with climatic conditions that appear to be perfect for the growth of Bd. When five salamanders were experimentally infected to determine if they were susceptible to the fungus, all five salamanders died of chytridiomycosis. This is disturbing news, and indicates to scientists and conservation biologists that urgent measures need to be taken to prevent an outbreak of chytrid in the areas where these rare and vulnerable salamanders live. Many of the species of Tylototriton have only just been described from small populations in specific localities, such as the Laos knobby newt. Preventing the spread of chytrid to these areas in Vietnam may prove to be difficult if the fungus becomes more widespread in Asia, but for now, by making sure to bleach boots and equipment before and after entering the field, scientists can refrain from spreading Bd to these vulnerable populations.

Frog: 8, Fungus: 12

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