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New fungus kills salamanders.

The rogue chytrid fungus that has devastated more than 200 kinds of amphibians worldwide has an accomplice: a second species that researchers have discovered attacking fire salamanders. Populations of frogs, salamanders and their relatives have been dwindling worldwide, and in 1999 scientists identified a contributing factor. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was the first member of a phylum of fungi called chytrids found to attack vertebrates. Now genetic tests have identified a second vertebratekilling chytrid, the newly named Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans. Researchers found the new fungus when volunteers reported a population crash in a yellow-and-black fire salamander, Salamandra salamandra (shown), in the Netherlands. Lab tests showed that fungus spores from a sick salamander caused the disease in healthy ones, researchers report September 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Within days of infection, the fungus eats away the skin of a salamander until scientists need a microscope to see skin remnants.


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Title Annotation:Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans
Author:Milius, Susan
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Oct 5, 2013
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