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Reptile and Amphibian News

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Insitute Scientists Find Sudden Stream Temperature Changes Boost Hellbender Immune Systems

September 11, 2013

Hellbenders, aquatic salamanders from the eastern United States, are surprisingly good at dealing with unpredictable weather. In a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, researchers from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute found that hellbenders can experience large changes in daily stream temperature (from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) without any ill effects. In fact, when scientists mimicked these natural temperature swings in the lab, hellbenders became more resistant to bacterial infection.

Recent News

National Zoo and Partners First to Breed Critically Endangered Tree Frog

August 2, 2010

As frogs around the world continue to disappear—many killed by a rapidly spreading disease called chytridiomycosis, which attacks the skin cells of amphibians—one critically endangered species has received an encouraging boost.

Japanese Giant Salamanders at the Zoo

August 2, 2010

One of Japan’s “special natural treasures” is now among the National Zoo’s most valued scientific gems, after a voyage that has united two cultures in an international conservation effort.