Facebook page for the “Eater of Salamanders”

Fire salamander © Tariq Stark A Facebook page for something called "The Eater of Salamanders” and not only that, it is a Crowd Funding Campaign? What on earth can this be? Let’s back up a bit and explain. This ominous term refers to the novel chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (hereafter Bsal) which species name (salamandrivorans) [...]

The eater of Salamanders (Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans) detected in captivity for the first time in Germany

Photo Above: Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra terrestris) © Tariq Stark[vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][text_output] The novel chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (hereafter Bsal) that has been appropriately been dubbed “the eater of salamanders” has been detected in Germany for the first time. Sabino-Pinto (et al., 2015) report this in the scientific herpetological journal Amphibia – Reptilia a few days [...]

Preventing a North American biodiversity crisis

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][text_output]North America has an amazing, unique diversity of vertebrates, ranging from birds to mammals but also reptiles and amphibians. Sadly some members of these groups are being hit hard by several emerging infectious diseases that have led to massive declines and extinctions. Diseases caused by fungal agents are some of the most well-known culprits. [...]

Alpine Newt mortalities due to B. salamandrivorans

Alpine Newts (Ichthyosaura alpestris) © Annelies Jacobs Since the description and subsequent discovery of the origins of the novel fungal disease Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) the world’s amphibian conservationist have gone in full alert. Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra terrestris) populations in the Netherlands and Belgium have crashed to the brink of local extinction due to the fungus. The [...]

From disease to hope

[vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][text_output]In 2014 we initiated a study on the single celled parasite Amphibiocystidium in collaboration with the Dutch Herpetological Society (conservation and research), RAVON and the University of Zurich (department evolutionary biology). Little is known on this parasite let alone in the Netherlands. After we found an infected smooth newt in 2014 (Lissotriton vulgaris) our [...]

Swabbing Fire Salamanders with students

Last week I had the distinct pleasure and honour to be invited as guest docent ecology in France. A good friend of mine, Jaap van Elst, who is a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences in Rotterdam (training aspiring biology teachers), invited me to help out in their annual ecology trip in Tigoleix, France [...]

Amphibiocystidium study in the Netherlands

Diseases are important drivers of declines in in amphibians and fishes. Relatively well known diseases in amphibians are chytridiomycosis and ranavirus, however fungal-like organisms from the orders Dermocystida and Ichthyophonida may have a large potential impact as well. [vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][text_output]Species from the genus Amphibiocystidium infect amphibians and cause lesions on the skin and infect liver and kidneys. [...]

Temperature treatment in salamanders to combat a nasty fungus

Figure 1. Photos © Mark Blooi Since the description and subsequent discovery of the origins of the novel fungal disease Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) the world’s amphibian conservationists have gone in full alert. Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra terrestris) populations in the Netherlands and Belgium have crashed to the brink of local extinction due to the fungus. The [...]

Educating the next generation of ecologists

My partner Carlijn Laurijssens and I strongly believe that education is key to conservation success. Both of us already gave many presentations and lectures on herpetofauna for the herpetological community for many years. But now we have taken it upon ourselves to also give lectures to the people that otherwise not have come in to [...]

New paper on Nicaraguan herpetofauna in Mesoamerican Herpetology!

In 2011 Carlijn Laurijssens and I conducted research on the presence of chytrid (caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and Ranavirus in amphibian populations at two locations in Nicaragua (the Island Ometepe in Lago de Nicaragua and the volcano Mombacho). On the beautiful fresh water Island of Ometepe we found a Ranavirus associated mass mortality event in [...]