The deadly fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans could cause salamander population declines and extinctions if brought to North America via international trade, biologists warn. They are calling for the federal government to place an immediate ban on salamander imports to the United States until a plan is in place to detect and prevent the fungus' spread. Salamanders are popular worldwide as pets, and frequently traded across borders. That has scientists worried that the fungus could spread from Asia, where it likely originated, to other parts of the globe. Salamanders are one of the most abundant vertebrate animals in many North American ecosystems and play a number of key ecological roles. They are very important predators of insects, but also an important part of the food chain.