The emerging fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), is a significant conservation threat to salamander biodiversity in Europe, although its potential to affect North American species is poorly understood. We tested the susceptibility of two genera (Eurycea and Pseudotriton) and three populations of lungless salamanders (Plethodontidae) to Bsal. All species became infected with Bsal and two (Pseudotriton ruber and Eurycea wilderae) developed chytridiomycosis. We also documented that susceptibility of E. wilderae differed among populations. Regardless of susceptibility, all species reduced feeding when exposed to Bsal at the highest zoospore dose, and P. ruber and one population of E. wilderae used cover objects less. Our results indicate that Bsal invasion in eastern North America could have significant negative impacts on endemic lungless salamander populations. Future conservation efforts should include surveillance for Bsal in the wild and in captivity, and championing legislation that requires and subsidizes pathogen-free trade of amphibians.
Carter, ED, Miller, DL, Peterson, AC, et al. Conservation risk of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans to endemic lungless salamanders. Conservation Letters 2020; 13:e12675. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12675