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Posts Tagged "fungus"

Extinction Countdown

Bat-Killing Fungus Now Found in 25 U.S. States

WNS little brown bat

The news for bats in the U.S. keeps getting worse. Last week conservation officials announced that the bat-killing white-nose syndrome (WNS) has been found in Michigan and Wisconsin. The disease, spread by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), has now reached 25 states and five Canadian provinces since it first turned up in New York State [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sunday Species Snapshot: Panamanian Golden Frog

panamanian golden frog

These tiny, brightly colored amphibians pack a potent neurotoxin on their skin. That toxin protected them from predators, but it won’t save them from extinction. They haven’t been seen in the wild in seven years. Species name: Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki). This is actually a misnomer. These “frogs” are actually toads! Where found: The [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Fire Salamanders in the Netherlands Wiped Out by Newly Discovered Fungus

fire salamander

Five years ago the Netherlands was home to a small but healthy population of fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra terrestris). That is no longer the case. The first dead salamanders, their bodies lacking any visible signs of injuries, turned up in 2008. More mysteriously dead salamanders appeared in the following years, while field surveys found fewer [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Rare Naked Ladies Crocus Infected with Even Rarer Smutty Fungus

Urocystis colchici

Who knew botany and mycology could be so naughty? Naked ladies and smut have come to light in the U.K., but not in the way you might think. Yes, you can get your minds out of the gutter. We’re talking about the rare plant called the naked ladies crocus (Colchicum autumnale) and the even rarer [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Amphibians in U.S. Declining at “Alarming and Rapid Rate”

yellow-legged frog

A new study finds that frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibians in the U.S. are dying off so quickly that they could disappear from half of their habitats in the next 20 years. For some of the more endangered species, they could lose half of their habitats in as little as six years. The nine-year [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Frog-Killing Chytrid Fungus Hits Rarely Seen, Wormlike Amphibians

caecilian

Don’t feel bad if you’ve never seen a caecilian, let alone don’t know how to pronounce the word. These rare, legless amphibians—which look like a cross between a worm and a snake—spend most of their time underground, far from the prying eyes of scientists and other humans. Although some of the 190 or so known [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Yarsagumba: Aphrodisiac Fungus Faces Extinction in Nepal

Climate change and overharvesting have put a Himalayan fungus valued for its purported aphrodisiac qualities at risk of extinction. Known variously as yarsagumba, yarchagumba, yartsa gunba, yatsa gunbu and, more colloquially, “Himalayan Viagra,” the parasitic caterpillar fungus Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) grows on and kills Tibetan ghost moths during their larval phase underground. A tiny mushroom [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Geese May Be Helping to Spread Frog-Killing Chytrid Fungus

canada goose belgium

The frog-killing fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes the disease chytridiomycosis, has been blamed for about 100 amphibian extinctions around the globe since it was first observed in 1998, but clear information on exactly how it spreads has remained a mystery. Now a team of scientists working in Belgium have come up with one potential [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Bat-Killing Fungus Continues Deadly Spread; Death Toll Now at 7 Million

little brown bat white-nose syndrome

Things keep getting worse for North American bats. Nearly seven million from various species have now fallen victim to the deadly but little-understood disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) since it was first observed in February 2006. The fungus that causes WNS, Geomyces destructans, has quickly spread from cave to cave and state to state, [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Killer Fungus Targeting Endangered Rattlesnakes

massasauga rattlesnake

In 2008 biologists studying the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) made a gruesome discovery: three sick snakes suffering from disfiguring lesions on their heads. All three died within the next three weeks. A fourth snake, found in 2010, also died from the mysterious growths and ulcers. Necropsies uncovered the source of the lesions: a [...]

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Observations

Supersize Spores Make Fungal Infections More Deadly, Possibly Explaining Victims in Missouri

fungal spore size infection

This season’s tornado outbreak in the U.S. left some unusual casualties in its wake. At least three people have reportedly died from a virulent fungal infection and several more remain infected following the storms that struck Missouri last month. Such severe fungal infections are rare but can be fatal if allowed to spread throughout the [...]

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Observations

Fungus-farming leaf-cutter ant’s genome sequenced [Video]

leaf-cutter ant fungus farmer genome sequenced

Tens of millions of years before humanity sowed its first crops, a somewhat humbler organism was starting up its own large-scale agricultural operations. Leaf-cutter ant species depend on actively managed fungus farming to feed their teaming colonies. The ant’s newly sequenced genome, based on three male Atta cephalotes ants collected in Gamboa, Panama, and described [...]

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Oscillator

A Beautiful Fungus Graveyard

Last month’s UCLA-Leonardo Art|Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) included a fabulous lightning talk from Seri Robinson, a professor of wood anatomy at Oregon State University and a wood artist. She works with wood colored by fungal pigments, exploring the interactions between different species as they grow and bump in to each other to leave behind beautiful [...]

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Oscillator

Seeing Bacteria

moyashimon6

I got a really fun early Christmas gift yesterday, Moyasimon 1: Tales of Agriculture, a manga series about a boy who can see microbes. His skills lead to some exciting fermentation-related adventures at his agriculture college. I learned a lot about miso, sake, and meats that ferment underground! The microbes are super cute, and it [...]

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