Flesh fungus on salamanders

natrix

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I saw this on BBC news and thought that it might be of concern and interist to members.
Mike

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Newt flesh fungus 'brought by pets'
October 30, 2014 10:00 PM
By Jonathan Webb
Science reporter, BBC News

The fungus causes skin lesions like those on the lips of this fire salamander
Zoologists say a skin-eating fungus threatens salamanders and newts across Europe, and probably arrived on pet amphibians imported from Asia.

It was discovered in the Netherlands in 2013 after wiping out all but 10 of the country's fire salamanders.

Now tests show that the fungus causes deadly skin diseases in many related species, but not those from Asia.

The findings, published in Science, suggest that the fungus coexisted with Asian salamanders for 30 million years.

Researchers from Imperial College and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) collaborated on the study with teams in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The parasitic fungus, called Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, is related to another fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) that causes a similar disease in frogs and other amphibians, mostly in the tropics.

According to the new study, the recently discovered "B. sal" does not affect frogs or toads but kills a wide variety of salamanders.

It rapidly invades and eats an animal's skin, which is crucial to its survival because it helps it to breathe.

"Most of the salamander species that come into contact with this fungus die within weeks," said lead author Prof An Martel from Ghent University, Belgium.

"There appear to be no real barriers that prevent the spread of the fungus throughout Europe."


The great crested newt, a protected species in the UK, is vulnerable to the fungus
Prof Martel and her team screened more than 5,000 amphibians from 35 different species, across four continents.

The results pointed the finger squarely at Asia as the most likely source.

"It's extremely lethal to most of the European salamanders that we tested, but it doesn't seem to cause serious disease in any of the Asian species," said Dr Trent Garner from ZSL's Institute of Zoology.

"The best explanation we have right now is this fungus originally arose in Asia."

Based on the evolutionary history of the group of Asian salamanders that can carry the fungus but survive, the team estimated that this branch of the family has lived with the fungus since the Palaeogene period, 30 million years ago.

They even detected the fungus in a museum specimen of an Asian newt dating from before 1870.

Since several species of Asian newts and salamanders are popular pets in Europe and the US, the animal trade seemed a likely explanation for the fungus turning up in Belgium.

To test this idea, the researchers also examined more than 2,000 skin samples from animals in museums and in pet shops around Europe, including Heathrow Airport, and at an export business in Hong Kong.

The pet shop samples were clean, but three specimens kept in European museums were infected - and had been imported from Asia in 2010.

This makes imported animals by far the most probable source. And although the pet shop samples in the study were fungus-free, this trade remains a likely explanation for the European outbreak because of the high numbers of amphibians that are imported to live in aquariums.


Chinese fire-bellied newts are commonly imported and can carry the fungus
A particularly likely culprit is the Chinese fire-bellied newt, Cynops orientalis, which is such a common pet worldwide that 2.3 million arrived in the US between 2001 and 2009.

Dr Garner was keen to defend the newts themselves.

"Let's not call it a villain," he told the BBC. "They're not jumping onto aeroplanes of their own volition. Let's call it the poor, trafficked amphibian."

'In tears'

He emphasised that the invasion could be controlled by careful management.

"We've got to work towards controlling pathogens in the wildlife pet trade," Dr Garner said.

"Moving animals around moves their pathogens with them. Quite often in new situations, these pathogens have the weapons to overwhelm local hosts that haven't been exposed."

He also said efforts could be made to tackle the fungus in the wild.

"It's no longer a matter of populations just going down - we're actually seeing species being eliminated by new infectious diseases.

"I personally think that we can develop these mitigation techniques - we do it for livestock and we do it for humans."


Also among the susceptible species was the eastern red-spotted newt, native to North America
Dr Garner has encountered widespread public interest in these issues in the UK.

"We've had ranavirus causing common frogs to die in the UK for 20 years. We're constantly hearing from people walking out and finding dead frogs in ponds in their own backyards. People are in tears!

"The British public really does care."

Although the "B. sal" fungus has not yet been found in the wild outside Belgium and the Netherlands, the researchers have said it is likely to spread further, because the animals pass it on when they touch each other.

The great crested newt, a protected species in the UK, is among the animals for whom the virus is fatal.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter



BBC © 2014
 
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jjatdvs

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NEWT EBOLA!

I have personally bought 3 Chinese firebellys from a pet shop. when i took them home they seemed perfectly fine, the next day, they all developed small sores on different parts of their body. the next day it was worse and in the part of where they developed the sores, it began to eat away at that part of their body. by the 3rd day it had eaten their legs and they were dead. i kept them together instead of isolating them because they all developed this at the same time and had the same symptoms. when i discovered them dead, they all had this small clear jelly ball stuck inside their mouth. i guess it was something that developed from the sickness. now the petshop gives you a full refund within 6 days. so i took them back and noticed in their tank now all of the newts they had , had the small sores on different parts of their bodies. So im guessing this is a big thing now with importing these newts. i would like to try and find somebody that breeds them within the US so i know they are healthy and can buy them with good faith.
 

ThoseNewtsTho

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It is common for newts that get imported from Asia to get diseases and sicknesses. Finding H. orientalis CB can be a challenge, and may take some time. I have a bunch of larvae running around my adult tank, but not sure if I would even be selling.
But if your not deadset on H. orientalis there are other great beginner species that show up frequently CB, and I'll post links to care sheets below. H. cyanurus is the most similar to H. orientalis appearance wise though.

Caudata Culture Species Entry - Pleurodeles waltl
Caudata Culture Species Entry - Ambystoma mexicanum - Axolotl
Caudata Culture Species Entry - Cynops cyanurus
Caudata Culture Species Entry - Cynops pyrrhogaster - Japanese firebelly
 
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    Thank you, I appreciate it. I'll look up ammonia and nitrate lockers, and see if I can find someone who can help me with cycling the tank with her in there. She still is looking and acting ok so I hope everything turns out ok. Thanks for the advice
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    Hey @Junaz. It appears your tank is uncycled. You'll need to purchase a source of ammonia (i.e., Dr. Tim's Aquatics ammonium chloride) to cycle the tank with. Dose the tank up to 2ppm (bottle says 4 drops/gal=2ppm. This is false. 2 drops/gal=2ppm) daily until you've build up a bacteria colony that is able to convert 2ppm of ammonia into 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrite in 24hr. You'll want to tub your axolotl immediately and while you cycle as these levels are extremely toxic. To tub, just use a food-grade tub large enough for the axolotl to extend itself and turn around in, and perform daily 100% water changes. Make sure your water is dechlorianted (and make sure your dechlorinator has no aloe or iodine, both of these are toxic to axolotls). If you have any more questions about cycling or axolotls, PM me :)
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  • Chamoxnle:
    My new axolotl enjoys floating. He doesn't seem stressed, or like he's being forced to float. He just likes to chill at the top. Why do some enjoy floating around? Most of my other axolotls are content staying stationary, but this one just continues to move, only stopping to eat. Again, he doesn't seem stressed, and it's not a fretful swim.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Hi, Im fairly new to keeping axolotls. I have to lil buddies that I got a few months back. They were doing fine, up until a month ago when one got fungus in his gills. Took him out to fridge him, then the other guy got it too. I'm currently fridging both and doing salt baths for one (not enough fridge space to keep that much pretreated water for both at the same time). Its been hard to tell if its helping or not and then about a week and half ago one of my axies had a bunch of weird white goop in the water. I immediately changed it, happened a tiny bit again, then seemed to be okay. I had returned him to the tank, but it happened again. Back to the fridge but wanted hear from people who knew more
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I have pictures. Tried looking through other peoples questions, but couldnt find the same white goop.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    @Kailynom My cousin (who i got my baby axies from) had the same problem. She developed an allergy to the bloodworms she was feeding them and it got really bad. To the point where her throat would close up just being around the bloodworms. Happened within a few months. Be safe :)
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  • madcaplaughs:
    @MadamePirateOwl Fridging is best left to life-or-death situations, and salt baths are unnecessarily harsh, stressful, and abrasive. I'd suggest doing tea baths instead (using caffeinated black tea, where the only ingredient is black tea).
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    so no idea what the goop is?
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  • madcaplaughs:
    Hard to tell without a photo, but might be algae or fungus floating. Water changes will take care of that.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    It definitely came from the axolotl. Looked to be mixed into poo the first time. Can I post the photos here?
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Im not actually sure how i would post it. It seems to want a link
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Its fairly thick and chunky
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    (Also thanks for your patience and help!)
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  • madcaplaughs:
    You could always upload the photo to imgur and link it back here
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    The second image was how it looked the first time, it was mixed with some other poop like stuff. after that its been small and without the poopy stuff
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  • madcaplaughs:
    The second photo looks reminiscent of partially-digested worms, though I've never seen anything like that. Have you checked your parameters lately?
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Right now theyre in smaller tubs that i do daily water changes in
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I'll admit Ive bought test strips but they havent come in yet
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    I use Prime to dechlorinate the water, which was recommend by the girl I got them from
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  • madcaplaughs:
    For now I'd tub the axolotl and do daily 100% water changes until you're able to test your parameters
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  • madcaplaughs:
    I'd also recommend ordering a liquid test kit such as the API Freshwater Master Test Kit since strips are generally unreliable and inaccurate.
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  • MadamePirateOwl:
    Okay, thank you for your help and advice :)
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    anybody growing tylototriton?
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    k.em: anybody growing tylototriton? +2
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