Recent introduction of a chytrid fungus endangers Western Palearctic salamanders

A Martel (Corresponding Author), M Blooi, C Adriaensen, P Van Rooij, W Beukema, M C Fisher, R A Farrer, B R Schmidt, U Tobler, K Goka, K R Lips, C Muletz, K R Zamudio, J Bosch, S Lötters, E Wombwell, T W J Garner, A A Cunningham, A Spitzen-van der Sluijs, S SalvidioR Ducatelle, K Nishikawa, T T Nguyen, J E Kolby, I Van Bocxlaer, F Bossuyt, F Pasmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

348 Citations (Scopus)


Emerging infectious diseases are reducing biodiversity on a global scale. Recently, the emergence of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans resulted in rapid declines in populations of European fire salamanders. Here, we screened more than 5000 amphibians from across four continents and combined experimental assessment of pathogenicity with phylogenetic methods to estimate the threat that this infection poses to amphibian diversity. Results show that B. salamandrivorans is restricted to, but highly pathogenic for, salamanders and newts (Urodela). The pathogen likely originated and remained in coexistence with a clade of salamander hosts for millions of years in Asia. As a result of globalization and lack of biosecurity, it has recently been introduced into naïve European amphibian populations, where it is currently causing biodiversity loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-631
Number of pages2
Issue number6209
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2014


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