DAO 121:223-232 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03045

Jumping into a trap: high prevalence of chytrid fungus in the preferred microhabitats of a bromeliad-specialist frog

Gustavo Ruano-Fajardo1,4,*, 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, Alagoas, 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, São Paulo, Brazil
3Setor de Biodiversidade, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Av. Lourival Melo Mota, s/n, Tabuleiro, 57052-970 Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil
4Present address: Departamento de Zoología, Genética y Vida Silvestre, Escuela de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas y Farmacia, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Edificio T-10, 2.° nivel, Ciudad Universitaria, Z.12, Guatemala
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been identified as a major threat to several amphibian populations in tropical forests. Amphibians that inhabit the phytotelmata (water tanks) of bromeliads may be especially at risk of Bd infection since the humid, environmentally buffered microhabitat that they prefer might also be favorable for Bd persistence on the host. To test this hypothesis, we sampled adults and tadpoles of the bromeligenous anuran Phyllodytes edelmoi (endemic to the northern Brazilian Atlantic Forest) from the bromeliad Portea leptantha for Bd, using qPCR. We also analyzed 8 bromeliad characteristics: water tank temperature and pH, canopy closure, tank diameter, number of leaves, bromeliad maximum column depth to store water, bromeliad relative volume, and season. Adult frogs preferentially selected bromeliads with a smaller diameter, more leaves and a relatively higher volume of water. We found that Bd was more prevalent in frogs inhabiting bromeliad phytotelmata with smaller diameters, suggesting that the behavioral preferences of P. edelmoi may be driving Bd infection patterns. Therefore, species such as P. edelmoi will be trapped by their own natural history traits.


KEY WORDS: Pathogen · Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Phyllodytes · Atlantic Forest · Bromeligenous


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Cite this article as: Ruano-Fajardo G, Toledo LF, Mott T (2016) Jumping into a trap: high prevalence of chytrid fungus in the preferred microhabitats of a bromeliad-specialist frog. Dis Aquat Org 121:223-232. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03045

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