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Rapid enigmatic decline drives the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) to the edge of extinction in the Netherlands

In: Amphibia-Reptilia
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  • 1 1Reptile, Amphibian and Fish Conservation the Netherlands, P.O. Box 1413, 6501 BK Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • | 2 2Statistics Netherlands, P.O. Box 24500, 2490 HA Den Haag, The Netherlands
  • | 3 3Dutch Wildlife Health Centre, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80158, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • | 4 4Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
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In the Netherlands, the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) is at the edge of its geographic range and is restricted to three small populations in the extreme south of the country. Despite the species being listed as ‘Endangered’ on the national Red List, the situation was considered to be stable. However, from 2008 onwards dead individuals were seen on more than one occasion. A sharp decline in numbers has been observed since 2010 (96%; P<0.01), but we were unable to attribute this to any known cause of amphibian decline, such as chytridiomycosis, ranavirus or habitat degradation. The present work describes this enigmatic decline, and we discuss these results in the context of possible causes.

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