A deadly, skin-eating, fungus could do widespread and catastrophic damage to salamanders in the United States. The fungus has already made it to Europe from Asia and is posing substantial threats to entire species of creatures in Europe.
This week a team doing research on the fungus noted that while it was first detected in Europe nearly a year ago, it has since killed salamanders in the Netherlands and Belgium. The problem is that the fungus is so closely related to another fungus which has wiped out entire amphibian species, which means it would pose a serious threat to the ecosystems as a whole.
The new fungus is called B. salamandrivorans, or Bs, as it’s called for short – and is closely related to the fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd for short. That fungus destroyed entire populations of frogs, toads, and salamanders. This though is not a new fungus. This is a fungus that has been around for decades and has eliminated 40% of species in some areas.
Bd and Bs are members of the chytrids fungi family, and scientists have begun testing to see just how catastrophic results would be if the fungus should reach the United States. In fact, the cause for concern was so great with this fungus that scientists from 12 countries decided to work together to determine how great the impact would be on the United States amphibian population, through lab tests.
The results showed that 11 out of 17 species in North America were wiped out entirely. For certain groups, the mortality rate was an eye-popping 100%. However, if any good news could be had from the fungus overall, it’s that those surviving species suffered no deaths from the fungus. Those who have evaluated the fungus from the outside have speculated that this could be the worst type of disease carrying issue for ecosystems in North America. Even those that did not die from the disease, which was given to them by the fungus, were still able to spread the disease which was given to them by the fungus.
This is the type of disease that would ultimately have the highest mortality rates, and would be the greatest cause for concern when it comes to widespread damage in terms of making species extinct.