DAO 114:61-67 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02845

Chytrid fungus acts as a generalist pathogen infecting species-rich amphibian families in Brazilian rainforests

Anyelet Valencia-Aguilar1,*, Gustavo Ruano-Fajardo1, Carolina Lambertini2, Domingos da Silva Leite3, Luís Felipe Toledo2, Tamí Mott

1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Diversidade Biológica e Conservação nos Trópicos, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Av. Lourival Melo Mota, s/n, Tabuleiro, 57052-970, Maceió, AL, Brazil
2Laboratório de História Natural de Anfíbios Brasileiros (LaHNAB), Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Rua Monteiro Lobato, 255, 13083-862, Campinas, SP, Brazil
3Laboratório de Antígenos Bacterianos, Departamento de Genética, Evolução e Bioagentes, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Rua Monteiro Lobato, 255, 13083-862, Campinas, SP, Brazil
4Setor de Biodiversidade, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Av. Lourival Melo Mota, s/n, Tabuleiro, 57052-970, Maceió, AL, Brazil
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is among the main causes of declines in amphibian populations. This fungus is considered a generalist pathogen because it infects several species and spreads rapidly in the wild. To date, Bd has been detected in more than 100 anuran species in Brazil, mostly in the southern portion of the Atlantic forest. Here, we report survey data from some poorly explored regions; these data considerably extend current information on the distribution of Bd in the northern Atlantic forest region. In addition, we tested the hypothesis that Bd is a generalist pathogen in this biome. We also report the first positive record for Bd in an anuran caught in the wild in Amazonia. In total, we screened 90 individuals (from 27 species), of which 39 individuals (from 22 species) were Bd-positive. All samples collected in Bahia (2 individuals), Pernambuco (3 individuals), Pará (1 individual), and Minas Gerais (1 individual) showed positive results for Bd. We found a positive correlation between anuran richness per family and the number of infected species in the Atlantic forest, supporting previous observations that Bd lacks strong host specificity; of 38% of the anuran species in the Atlantic forest that were tested for Bd infection, 25% showed positive results. The results of our study exemplify the pandemic and widespread nature of Bd infection in amphibians.


KEY WORDS: Pathogen · Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Bd · Geographic distribution · Atlantic forest · Amazon forest · Anurans


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Cite this article as: Valencia-Aguilar A, Ruano-Fajardo G, Lambertini C, da Silva Leite D, Toledo LF, Mott T (2015) Chytrid fungus acts as a generalist pathogen infecting species-rich amphibian families in Brazilian rainforests. Dis Aquat Org 114:61-67. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02845

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