Monterey salamander finding at San Diego National Wildlife Refuge prompts biologists to test for deadly fungus

Authors: L Cox
April 15, 2019
Cold, dark and rainy nights are not your typical postcard picture of San Diego, but these are just the type of nights that reptile experts wait for in early spring.

Robert Fisher from the U.S. Geological Survey is one of those reptile experts, known as herpetologists. On a hunch and from his extensive knowledge of amphibians in Southern California, he set out in early February with a small team of biologists in search of a specific species; located in a closed area of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge.

Fisher predicted that with the unique soil and plant types found on San Miguel Mountain, along with its higher elevation and longer exposure to moisture in the air, he might find the species he had in mind: the Monterey salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii eschscholtzii). Then if any were found, they would come back to collect tissue samples to test for a deadly fungus specific to salamanders, called chytrid fungus.

Full text:

Notice: PDF documents require Adobe Reader or Google Chrome Browser (recommended) for viewing.