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Amphibians that produce fewer offspring 'face greater extinction risk'
The study found that extinction risk increases in smaller amphibians that produce fewer young, such as rain frogs.

Findings could guide future conservation actions.

Smaller amphibians face a higher extinction risk because their females produce fewer offspring, according to new research.

The breakthrough study, published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, suggests extinction risk increases in species that produce fewer young, such as rain frogs but decreases in species that produce more, such as bufonid toads.

Amphibians are the most endangered animals in the world. Currently, more than 40 per cent of amphibians, including frogs, toads, salamanders and newts, face being wiped out altogether.

It is a long-held belief that larger body size increases extinction risk – a theory derived from research on mammals. In this new study, researchers investigated, for the first time, whether it is not body size, but instead, the number of babies a female produces per clutch that determines extinction risk. 

The team looked at amphibians from across the globe, including frogs, salamanders and caecilians, and matched the endangerment levels of thousands of species. They then analysed this information against their body sizes and the number of babies they produce per clutch. 

Lead author Dr Daniel Pincheira-Donoso, a lecturer in Evolutionary Biology and Macroecology at Queens University Belfast, explains: “Our findings explain the discrepancies in the body size-extinction risk relationship observed between mammals and amphibians, given that larger mammals have fewer babies per birth and therefore extinction increases with larger body size, whereas in amphibians, larger females produce more babies, thus reducing extinction risk with larger body size.” 

It is hoped the findings will guide future conservation action about which species and areas to protect - resetting the theory to focus on reproduction levels of animals rather than on body size when calculating extinction risk.

The study was a collaboration between Queens University Belfast, Nottingham Trent University, Tel Aviv University, Exeter University and the University of Lincoln. 

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Webinar to focus on equine worm control

News Story 1
 Vets, veterinary nurses and RAMAs are being invited to join a free CPD webinar on late winter and early spring equine worm control.

Hosted by Zoetis vet Dr Wendy Talbot, the webinar aims to help prescribers understand which parasites are of most concern at this time of year. It will also cover how to assess parasite risk, selecting a suitable wormer and spring wormer plans, concluding with a Q&A session.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, 18 March at 10 am and will be repeated at 7 pm for those unable to listen during the day. To book the 10 am webinar, click here, and to register for the 7 pm webinar, click here

Click here for more...
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Avian influenza confirmed in Lancashire

A case of highly pathogenic (HPAI H5N8) avian influenza has been confirmed in two captive peregrine falcons on a non-commercial, non-poultry premises near Skelmersdale, West Lancashire.

Following a risk assessment, APHA has declared that no disease control zones have been put in place surrounding this non-commercial, non-poultry premises.

Eighteen cases of HPAI H5N8 have now been identified in poultry and other captive birds in England. A housing order for poultry and captive birds introduced by Defra to control the spread of the disease expired on 31 March, although bird keepers in England are still required by law to comply with biosecurity measures.

For more information, please click here.