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Earth has entered an era of mass extinction unparalleled since the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago

A 2015 study co-authored by Paul Ehrlich, professor emeritus of biology, and colleagues showed that Earth has entered an era of mass extinction unparalleled since the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago. The specter of extinction hangs over about 41 percent of all amphibian species and 26 percent of all mammals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which maintains a list of threatened and extinct species.

Three reptile species go extinct in Australia

Three species of reptile on Christmas Island in Australia have been declared extinct in the wild, according to a study released on Tuesday. Lister's gecko (Lepidodactylus listeri), , the blue-tailed skink (Cryptoblepharus egeriae) and the Christmas Island forest-skink (Emoia nativitatis) were downgraded from "critically endangered" to "extinct in the wild" in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) latest report. "The extinctions ...

Die Zahl der weltweit bedrohten Tier- und Pflanzenarten hat dieses Jahr einen neuen Rekordstand erreicht

Mit rund 25'800 bedrohten Tier- und Pflanzenarten sei im zu Ende gehenden Jahr ein neuer dramatischer Höchststand erreicht worden. Ein Jahr zuvor waren es noch 24'000 bedrohte Arten. "Wir Menschen verursachen das grösste Artensterben seit Ende der Dinosaurier", resümierte Eberhard Brandes, Vorstand des WWF Deutschland. Auch in der Schweiz gingen die Bestände einiger Arten merklich zurück. Mehr als 40 Prozent der Insektenarten in der Schweiz gälten als bedroht, darunter Bienen und Schmetterlinge, sagte WWF-Sprecherin Perrette Rey in Lausanne auf Anfrage.

A deadly fungus is infecting snake species seemingly at random

A deadly fungal disease that’s infecting snakes in the eastern and midwestern United States doesn’t appear to discriminate by species, size or habitat, researchers report online December 20 in Science Advances. The infection, caused by the fungal pathogen Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, can cover snakes’ bodies with lesions that make it hard for the reptiles to do normal snake things like slither and eat. Many eventually die from the infection. Fungal spores hang around in the soil and can spread to snakes that pick the particles up.

Pilzseuche jetzt auch bei Schlangen

Nach den Amphibien jetzt die Reptilien: Jetzt haben Frank Burbrink vom American Museum of Natural History in New York und seine Kollegen eine weitere Pilzseuche entdeckt – und eine weitere gefährdete Tiergruppe: die Schlangen. Im Osten der USA sind bereits 23 Schlangenarten befallen, darunter drei Arten, die in Europa vorkommen. Das Bedrohliche daran: Der Erregerpilz scheint weder auf bestimmte Schlangengruppen noch auf spezielle Lebensräume oder Lebensweisen spezialisiert zu sein.

Jedes fünfte Reptil weltweit ist bedroht

Reptilien existieren seit mehr als 300 Millionen Jahren. Jetzt allerdings müssen sie um ihr Überleben kämpfen: Jedes fünfte Reptil auf der Erde ist inzwischen vom Aussterben bedroht, das zeigt eine erste umfassende Analyse ihres Bedrohungsstatus durch mehr als 200 Forscher im Auftrag der International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Trotzdem aber ist über die Zahl der Reptilienarten und ihren Status erstaunlich wenig bekannt, wie die Forscher berichten.

Dahl's Toad-headed Turtle Threatened with Extinction

A recent study published in Conservation Genetics by researchers from the Universidad de los Andes, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), and the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) shows that the Dahl's Toad-headed Turtle (Mesoclemmys dahli), a rare reptile found only in Colombia, is threatened with extinction. The Dahl's Toad-headed Turtle lives in small bodies of water, streams, and small aquifers.

Three Australian Lizards Declared Extinct In The Wild

There is some bad news coming out of Australia’s Christmas Island, as three native lizard species, Lister's gecko (Lepidodactylus listeri), the blue-tailed skink (Cryptoblepharus egeriae) and the Christmas Island forest-skink (Emoia nativitatis) have been downgraded by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, from critically endangered, to extinct in the wild. The IUCN released its annual Red List of of endangered species December 5 in Tokyo.

The Resilience of the Bee Hive

A recent assessment of higher tier studies on the toxicity and risks of neonics in honeybees by Solomon and Stephenson reported a colony-level NOAEC of 25 μg/kg (ppb) for imidacloprid and clothianidin. The toxicity of these insecticides to honeybees is however known to be reinforced with chronic exposure, and extrapolation of time-to lethal-effect toxicity plots compiled from published studies indicate that an imidacloprid level of 0.25 ppb, i.e. one-hundredth of the reported colony NOAEC, would kill a large proportion of bees nearing the end of their life.

Insect decline: the biodiversity of the entire world is at stake

Bees and butterflies are experiencing widespread population decline, creating public concern in recent years. Data collected in Germany suggest that it’s not just bees and butterflies at risk: insect populations overall have plummeted by more than 75 percent since 1989. Scientists have known about the population decline for several years. However, they didn’t know how many species were declining, and they didn’t expect it to be happening so fast.