Monterey salamander finding at San Diego National Wildlife Refuge prompts biologists to test for deadly fungus
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: www.fws.gov/cno/newsroom/highlights/2019/monterey_salamander/
A juvenile salamander clings to the moss and rock on the side of a hill on San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. While many are charmed by the aesthetic splendor of salamanders, they are also important indicators of environmental health, according to USGS biologist Robert Fisher.
Photo by: Lisa Cox/USFWS