Amphibian and Reptile Conservation's consultancy arm ARCESL and University of Kent's DICE have teamed up to carry out research and development into predictive modelling of great crested newt (GCN) occurrence in England. The project, commissioned by Natural England, is a follow-up to the Evidence Enhancement Project which ran in 2013 and 2014, delivered by Hyder-Cresswell, CGO Ecology and other partners.
The following from Sergé Bogaerts:
A deadly skin-eating fungus is threatening Belgian Fire Salamander populations. Amphibians are already globally threatened by dramatic population declines, which are in part driven by infectious diseases. Despite the well-known occurrence of several infectious amphibian diseases in Belgium, hitherto they appear not to have significantly affected native amphibian assemblages. However, a novel deadly fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, was discovered in 2012 and almost wiped out the fire salamander in the Netherlands. This fungus now has been found in a dying fire salamander in Eupen, Belgium, by researchers at Ghent University.
The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has published a series of 'average population density' maps on its website, showing the number of individuals per square kilometre for 49 common species of bird.
Australian researchers have shown for the first time that the advanced stages of chytridiomicosis in amphibians can be completely cured using fungicide and electrolyte therapy.
Do reptiles live on floodplains? It is a question I have often asked myself, and usually concluded that the answer is largely 'no.' The obvious exception is the grass snake, a highy mobile species, at home in agricultural and managed landscapes, and a good swimmer.
An open letter to Justin McCracken, Chief Executive of the Health Protection Agency, in response to their press release "County walking? Think snakes..." (23/5/12):
(First published on 18/4/12 on the ARGUK website www.arguk.org)
Recent media attention has highlighted the impact of current drought conditions on natterjack toad breeding success. Natterjack breeding ponds are typically shallow sandy pools which dry up in some years. This is good for keeping predators in check, but with several consecutive dry winters and springs, it poses a serious threat to breeding success.
Many of you will be unaware that Britain was once home to some rather exotic species - including freshwater turtles. Today, the European pond terrapin Emys orbicularis is confined to warmer parts of Europe today, but during the 'Atlantic warm period' about 6000-9000 years ago, this warm-loving species was able to thrive in Norfolk of all places.
After years of speculation, it's now official - grass snakes are native to Scotland.
Conventional wisdom has always maintained that the grass snake (Natrix natrix) is native to England and Wales, but not to Scotland. Its northern range edge curiously matches the Scottish border, but the occasional reports of grass snakes north of the border have always been dismissed as erroneous.
tThe adder, Britain's only venomous snake, is in crisis. This is the conclusion drawn by a group of reptile experts and conservationists who attended a conference on the latest research on adders, including reports about its status in this country.