New research published by the Herpetological Society of Ireland has confirmed that the deadly chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is absent on the island of Ireland.
That’s good news for Ireland’s only 3 amphibian species, the common frog, the smooth newt and the natterjack toad. Along with climate change and habitat loss, the fungal disease is thought to be a major contributor to recent declines in amphibian populations worldwide. While the deadly fungus is present in Britain and mainland Europe, until now it’s status in Ireland was undetermined.
The research, funded by a grant from The Heritage Council, involved volunteers across Ireland collecting samples from Ireland’s native amphibian species. Skin swabs were taken from a total of 195 adults at 22 locations across 8 counties, and analysis by the Institute of Zoology in London confirmed that all the Irish samples tested negative for traces of the fungus.
Results of the research have just been published in the Herpetological Journal.
While this is great news for Irish amphibians, chief researcher Rob Gandola warns that we must remain vigilant, and that a long-term island-wide monitoring system is essential to detect any potential invasion by the deadly chytrid fungus.
“In my opinion the best way to do this is through continued surveying and involvement with members of the public, ” he said.