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Europe's salamanders may be doomed

Until recently, the Bunderbos was the best place in the Netherlands to find fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra). But starting around 2008, the population in the Bunderbos began to plummet for no apparent reason. When Frank Pasmans and An Martel, veterinarians here at Ghent University, heard about the enigmatic deaths, they recalled extinctions caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a highly lethal fungus that infects more than 700 species of amphibian. Yet tests for Bd at their lab were negative.

Cytotoxicity of thiamethoxam in target and nontarget organs of newly emerged bees

The use of insecticides on crops can affect non-target insects, such as bees. In addition to the adult bees, larvae can be exposed to the insecticide through contaminated floral resources. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the possible effects of the exposure of A. mellifera larvae to a field concentration of thiamethoxam (0.001 ng/mL thiamethoxam) on larval and pupal survival and on the percentage of adult emergence. Additionally, its cytotoxic effects on the digestive cells of midgut, Malpighian tubules cells and Kenyon cells of the brain of newly emerged A.

Hen harrier driven to extinction in Northern Ireland

There are now 46 breeding pairs left in Northern Ireland, a fall of 22% since 2010, when there were 59 pairs, and the numbers are also declining elsewhere in the UK, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) reports. The hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) population has suffered a decline of 88 pairs (13%) over the past six years with a total UK population estimated to be 545 pairs, according to the latest figures from the fifth national hen harrier survey. Known for their majestic skydancing ritual, this graceful bird is one of the most threatened birds of prey in the UK.

Imidacloprid found in same B.C. hummingbirds that are in decline

Some species of North American hummingbirds are in severe decline and a British Columbia research scientist says one possible cause might be the same insecticide affecting honey bees. Christine Bishop with Environment and Climate Change Canada said researchers started looking at a variety of factors that may be responsible, ranging from habitat loss to changes when plants bloom. To try and find some answers, researchers began collecting urine and feces from the birds for testing.

Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids reduces honey bee health near corn crops

Experiments linking neonicotinoids and declining bee health have been criticized for not simulating realistic exposure. Here we quantified the duration and magnitude of neonicotinoid exposure in Canada’s corn-growing regions and used these data to design realistic experiments to investigate the effect of such insecticides on honey bees. Colonies near corn were naturally exposed to neonicotinoids for up to 4 months—the majority of the honey bee’s active season.

Iowa's oak trees are sick, and some say farm chemicals are to blame

Iowa’s state tree is under stress. Visible damage to oak trees in recent years may be caused by farm chemicals, forestry experts say. Nearly a thousand Iowans have contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources this spring after noticing the leaves on their oaks appear to be eaten by insects nearly down to the veins, a problem exacerbated this year because of weather fluctuations. The good news: the trouble isn't with insects. The bad news: There's not much you can do about it, unless herbicide applied to corn and soybean fields is stopped, according to a DNR district forester.

Vast reduction in insect numbers indicative of declining nature everywhere

The vast reduction in insect numbers is indicative of generally declining nature everywhere, from birds to elephants, and wildflowers to frogs and toads. There are exceptions, especially with larger and more charismatic species, including otters and peregrine falcons. Generally, though, the trend is downwards. Because all nature is connected the declines in different groups are connected. Thus, fewer insects means fewer insect-eating birds, such as swallows, swifts and skylarks.

Country-specific effects of neonicotinoids on honey bees and wild bees

Neonicotinoid seed dressings have caused concern world-wide. We use large field experiments to assess the effects of neonicotinoid-treated crops on three bee species across three countries (Hungary, Germany, and the United Kingdom). Winter-sown oilseed rape was grown commercially with either seed coatings containing neonicotinoids (clothianidin or thiamethoxam) or no seed treatment (control). For honey bees, we found both negative (Hungary and United Kingdom) and positive (Germany) effects during crop flowering.

Significant declines in populations of steelhead trout in the Pacific Northwest

Steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are entrenched in the economy, ecology, and culture of the Pacific Northwest. Declining numbers of steelhead in the rivers flowing through British Columbia, Washington state, and Oregon are troubling fishers and fisheries managers alike. A new study published today in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (CJFAS) shows that survival of young steelhead trout in ocean environments has also been precipitously declining.

Hen harrier plunges towards extinction in England

The hen harrier (Circus cyaneus), an iconic bird of prey, is heading towards the brink of extinction in England, new figures suggest. There are just four breeding pairs left in England and numbers are declining elsewhere in the UK. Scotland is the traditional stronghold of these raptors, but numbers have fallen 9% since 2010. Numbers in England fell from twelve pairs in 2010 to just four in 2016.