What is Bsal?
It is a chytrid fungus from Asia, which came to Europe through animal trade. It causes skin lesions in the European salamanders and newts. In Salamandra salamandra and Triturus cristatus the die off is extreme and kills whole populations.
The distribution in Europe is southern Netherlands, Belgium and the Eifel and Ruhr area in Germany - there are also cases from Spain in T.mamoratus.
What can we do?
- disinfect your shoes and gear (with Virkon S 10g for 1l water or 70% ethanol) before and after visiting woodlands
- report dead or sick salamanders
Can we heal the salamanders?
Due temperature cure with high temperatures (25C°) for 14 days the salamanders can be healed, but the disease stays in the ecosystem.
More informations here:
Well, where should I start the story.. . maybe with a short exemplification of neoteny. Neoteny in newts and salamanders is a disorder in the metmorphosis (mostly) in cause of a disfunction of the thyroid. The metamorphosis stops at a certain point and as a result of that, the juveniles/adults keep their gills from the larvae stage (GOULD 1977). Mostly you can find single individuals in ponds, but in a view cases the big part of the population can be neotenic(HARTWIG & ROTTMANN 1940). There are reports of populations of neotenic I.alpestris up to 96%(RADOVANOVIC 1951, 1961) ! How cool is that! Let's come back to the story of how I came together with the neotenic newt you can see next to this text. In late autumn 2019 I read a lot about neoteny in european newts and salamanders and out of a funny coincidence my good friend Tim Leerschool sent me an image from a cleaning action in the pond of his parents - there were plenty of them, neotenic L.helveticus and L.vulgaris. For sure I had to photograph them and so Í went to the Netherlands with my camera and a cake for Tim's parents.
After a few rounds with the net we had some neotenic newts and the photsession could start!
Radovanovic, M., 1951. A new race of the Alpine newt from Yugoslavia. British Journal of Herpetology 1(5): 93-97.
Radovanovic, M., 1961. Neue Fundorte neotenischer Bergmolche in Jugoslawien. Zoologischer Anzeiger 166: 206-218.
GOULD, S. J. (1977): Ontogeny and Phylogeny. – Cambridge, Mass. (Harvard University Press).
HARTWIG, H. & E. ROTMANN (1940): Experimentelle Untersuchungen an einem Massenauftreten von neotenen Triton taeniatus. – Wilhelm Roux ́ Archiv für Entwicklungsmechanik der Organismen 140: 195–250.
Kropfbildungen und Pädomorphose in einer Teichmolch-Population (Lissotriton vulgaris) in Nordrhein-Westfalen THOMAS KORDGES, BURKHARD THIESMEIER, URBAN MÖLLER & HARTMUT GREVEN