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Reptile & Amphibian News

FWS lists 201 Salamanders as injurious, bars importation, interstate transport - Tuesday, Jan 12, 2016

Fire Salamander - Gallery Photo by firereptiles

To help prevent a deadly fungus from killing native salamanders, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing an interim rule tomorrow to list 201 salamander species as injurious wildlife and barring their importation into the United States and interstate trade of those already in the country.

The fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans also known as Bsal or salamander chytrid, has wreaked havoc on salamander species overseas and poses an imminent threat to native salamanderpopulations. The fungus is not yet known to be found in the United States, and to help ensure it remains that way, the Service is publishing an interim rule that will take effect on January 28, 2016.

A species can be listed under the Lacey Act because it is injurious to the health and welfare of humans; the interests of forestry, agriculture, or horticulture; or the welfare and survival of wildlife or the resources that wildlife depend upon. In listing these species, the Service is responding to science that shows that Bsal is an imminent threat to U.S. wildlife.

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Featured Contributors

Northern Brown Basilisk
Richard Bartlett - Thursday, Feb 11, 2016

This is an adult female northern brown basilisk.

I was totally enthralled when, some 25 years ago, I saw my first northern brown basilisk, Basiliscus vittatus, in Florida. I had been told that they were then tenuously established, but until then I had not seen one. The fact that the example that was then in front of me, resting quietly but attentively on a blade of grass overhanging a canal, was a hatchling disclosed that at least one pair of breeders could not be too far away. Although I did not find additional examples on that trip, when, a few weeks later I again visited South Florida, I happened upon a number of these intriguing lizards of all size classes in Miami-Dade’s Tropical Park

Today (2016) this 2 foot long lizard with the cranial crest (males) and strongly defined vertebral and mid-caudal ridge are locally distributed in Palm Beach and Martin counties are now common in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

The predominant color is brown. Yellow facial and dorsolateral stripes (the latter best defined anteriorly) are usually easily visible. A second yellow stripe, sometimes interrupted, parallels the upper jaw line and continues rearward to the shoulder. Darker crossbands, best defined above the uppermore yellow stripes may be present. Females are smaller than the males, lack the cranial crest but do have a lobe on the back of the head and the stripes are more faded or even absent. Both sexes will be darkest and most poorly marked when cold, at night, or when frightened.

Insects, small frogs and other lizards, form the diet of these pet trade lizards. The species native range is from northeastern Mexico to northern Colombia.

Continue reading "Northern Brown Basilisk"
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