For over a year, Segrest Farms and other industry leaders have been working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to develop and implement testing and treatment regimens to address concerns over a chytrid fungus from Asia named Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (frequently shortened to Bsal).
For several months we have had in place, and encouraged other suppliers to do the same, a voluntary moratorium refusing to carry certain species including the Fire Belly Newt (Cynops pyrrhogaster) and Paddletail Fire Newts (Pachytriton brevipes).
The USFWS has decided to put in place an interim ruling listing all species from 20 genera as injurious, making it illegal to import these species into the United States or transport them across state lines. The ruling goes into effect Thursday, January 28th 2016.
While we are disappointed that this decision does not allow for newts from sources that have tested negative for the virus, we understand that precautions need to be taken in order to protect the safety of animals both in captivity and in the wild.
The genera currently being listed include Chioglossa, Cynops, Euproctus, Hydromantes, Hynobius, Ichthyosaura, Lissotriton, Neurergus, Notophthalmus, Onychodactylus, Paramesotriton, Plethodon, Pleurodeles, Salamandra, Salamandrella, Salamandrina, Siren, Taricha, Triturus, and Tylototriton.
Some species that Segrest Farms has carried in the past that are included on the list are:
- Cynops cyanurus (Blue Tail Fire Newt)
- Cynops pyrrhogaster (Fire Belly Newt)
- Notophthalmus viridescens (Green Newt, Red Eft Newt)
- Paramesotriton hongkongensis (Giant Hong Kong Newt)
- Plethodon glutinosus (Slimy Salamander)
- Pleurodeles waltl (Iberian Ribbed Newt)
- Salamandra salamandra (European Fire Salamander)
- Siren intermedia (Lesser Siren)
- Siren lacertina (Greater Siren)
- Taricha torosa (Orange Belly Newt)
- Tylototriton shanjing (Emperor Newt)
Not listed is the genus Ambystoma, which contains species such as:
- Ambystoma laterale (Blue Spotted Salamander)
- Ambystoma maculatum (Spotted Salamander)
- Ambystoma mexicanum (Axolotl)
- Ambystoma opacum (Marbled Salamander)
- Ambystoma tigrinum (Tiger Salamander, Water Dog)
We will continue regularly carrying Ambystoma tigrinum and Ambystoma mexicanum, which we source from domestic breeders.
While the studies used to form this listing did not show evidence for Paddletail Fire Newts (Pachytriton brevipes) being carriers for Bsal, we will continue to not carry them due to them being possible carriers of viruses until adequate testing and treatment have been developed and we can ensure the health and safety of them. We encourage others to do the same.
The USFWS will be accepting public comments on the ruling until Monday, March 14th 2016. If you wish to submit a comment, you can do so at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-HQ-FAC-2015-0005.
To read the complete ruling, you can go to https://federalregister.gov/a/2016-00452.