DAO 100:191-200 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02494

Prevalence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection is extremely low in direct-developing Australian microhylids

Kim F. Hauselberger*, Ross A. Alford

School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia

ABSTRACT: The emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis has been implicated in declines and disappearances of amphibian populations around the world. However, susceptibility to infection and the extent of pathological effects of infection vary among hosts, and species with life histories that include parental care of direct-developing terrestrial eggs may tend to be less susceptible. We examined samples from a total of 595 individuals of 9 species of direct-developing Australian frogs in the family Microhylidae for the presence of infection by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Between 1995 and 2004, 336 samples were collected; 102 of these were analysed histologically and 234 were tissues stored in alcohol, which were examined using diagnostic quantitative PCR (qPCR). Swab samples were collected from 259 frogs from 2005 to 2008 and were examined using qPCR. None of the 595 samples showed evidence of infection by Bd. If these data are regarded as a single sample representative of Australian microhylids, the upper 95% binomial confidence limit for the prevalence of infection in frogs of this family is 0.0062 (<1%). Even if only the data from the more powerful diagnostic qPCR tests are used, the upper 95% confidence limit for prevalence is 0.0075 (<1%). Our data suggest that Australian microhylids have a very low prevalence of infection by Bd in nature, and thus are either not susceptible, or are only slightly susceptible, to chytridiomycosis. This could be due solely to, or in combination with, low rates of transmission and to factors that promote resistance to infection, including ecological or behavioural characteristics, innate immune functions such as antimicrobial skin peptides, or antimicrobial symbionts in skin flora.


KEY WORDS: Chytridiomycosis · Microhylidae · Cophixalus · Austrochaperina · qPCR


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Cite this article as: Hauselberger KF, Alford RA (2012) Prevalence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection is extremely low in direct-developing Australian microhylids. Dis Aquat Org 100:191-200. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02494

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