Salamanders endangered by global warming

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Salamanders, along with froga and toads, belong in the order Amphibia and, like frogs on verge of extinction, are also on the point of becoming extinct because of global warming. According to a report in National Geographic, there is a a sharp decline in the number of species worldwide. Researchers have found that two common species surveyed in the 1970s in cloud forests of southern Mexico and Guatemala are extinct, and the numbers of several others have gone down.


[edit] Why should I be aware of this?

While a fast-killing fungus called chytrid, that may spread in waves, is said to be responsible for wiping out frogs around the world, the only pklausible reason for the extinction of Salamanders appears to be global warming. Several years of study among lungless salamanders in the San Marcos region of western Guatemala, one of the most diverse and well-studied salamander communities in the American tropics, showed that species which lived in forests at mid-elevations, up to 2,800 feet (853 meters) - a zone where global warming is most intense, had disappeared. [1]

The threatened extinction of the rarest of amphibians, which had not undergone any evolution since the Jurassic Age, is another typical example of species extinction caused by global warming.

[edit] All about Salamanders endangered by global warming

Current global warming has caused havoc in the world's most sensitive habitats and will continue to make more species to go extinct over the next 50 to 100 years, according to a study published in Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics by a University of Texas at Austin biologist. [2]

The study, Dr. Camille Parmesan, an associate professor of integrative biology, also showed that species are not evolving fast enough to avoid extinction. Species restricted to niche habitats and small ranges, like polar regions and mountaintops, are facing the most dramatic impacts of climate change on biodiversity.

[edit] Endangered in Central Mexico

The axolotl a type of salamander, is a critically endangered amphibian endemic to central Mexico. This species is a “paedomorphic species, living permanently in water, and does not undergo complete metamorphosis,” so the gills are retained into its adult life. The axolotl is declining due to global warming, pollution, disease transmission, and predation from introduced species, in addition to overfishing, and urbanization.

Also known as the “water monster”, the axolotl is a key part of Aztec legend and diet. Their population has dropped from roughly 1,500 per square mile in 1998 to a mere 25 per square mile, according to a survey using casting nets.

[edit] Disappearing from the Himalayan regions

The Salamanders are also gradually vanishing from its Indian Himalayan range habitats in West Bengal's Darjeeling district and Sikkim. They are now rarely found in some of their original habitats, while from some other places it has completely disappeared.

Apart from climate change, other factors attributed to their disappearance are water pollution, concretization, destruction of waterbodies and picnic revelry in the areas and sale of these Salamanders by locals to the tourists.

[edit] California tiger salamander endangered

The California Fish and Game Commission recentlyformally designated the California tiger salamander as a candidate for threatened or endangered status under the California Endangered Species Act. It called for extension of legal protections to the species for one year while the status was being reviewed.

For breeding the California tiger salamander depends on ephemeral vernal pools. In recent decades at least 75 percent of the salamander's habitat throughout the state has been eliminated as 95 percent of California's vernal pools have been lost. In Sonoma County, 95 percent of the fragmented and minimal remaining salamander habitat is threatened by development; the Santa Barbara population is also on the verge of extinction. The Sonoma population survives in only seven viable breeding sites and the Santa Barbara population consists of only six breeding groups.

[edit] What can we do?

  • The goal is to rescue of some populations at risk and reintroduce them in the wild once the source of the problem has been removed.
  • Scientists suggest that specimens of several hundred species of frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians - legless amphibians - could as a priority be taken from the wild into captive breeding programs.
  • Capacities in zoos around the world will have to be increased to run these captive breeding programs.
  • The price-tag for all this is going to be tens of millions of dollars per year for at least a decade. Capacity in zoos around the world to run these captive breeding programs is something that governments might be quite willing to address.
  • There is need for more protected habitats, for increased testing of agricultural chemicals to discover whether they are toxic to amphibians.
  • There is also need for a central laboratory to study the fungus and other pathogens are part of the strategy to support declining amphibian populations.

[edit] References:

  • Species evolution not making up for extinction caused by climate change
  • Salamanders facing extinction
  • About a third of frog, toad and salamander species are facing extinction
  • California Tiger Salamander

[edit] Source

  1. The Economic Times