DAO 126:173-183 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03172

Serological survey of Australian native reptiles for exposure to ranavirus

E. Ariel1,*, E. Elliott2, J. I. Meddings1, J. Miller3, M. B. Santos1, L. Owens

1College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, 4811 QLD, Australia
2AusPhage, 10 Heather Avenue, Rasmussen, 4815 QLD, Australia
3Department of Zoology, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59801, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Ranaviruses have been isolated from many ectothermic vertebrates, and serological surveys of both amphibians and reptiles have shown the presence of ranaviral antibodies in a proportion of these populations. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed to measure serum antibodies against ranavirus in Australian reptiles. The ELISA was validated with serum from challenge trials with Bohle iridovirus (BIV) in 6 reptilian species. A preliminary sero-survey of northern Queensland riparian reptile fauna (saw-shelled turtles Myuchelys latisternum, Krefft’s river turtles Emydura macquarii krefftii, freshwater crocodiles Crocodylus johnstoni, as well as the snakes Boiga irregularis, Dendrelaphis punctulatus, Tropidonophis mairii, Morelia spilota, Liasis childreni and L. fuscus) revealed evidence of past exposure to Bohle iridoviral antigens in part of the population at several locations sampled. Furthermore, in Krefft’s river turtles and freshwater crocodiles, a statistically significant trend was apparent for larger reptiles to be more likely to have BIV-reactive sera than smaller individuals. The use of adult tortoise populations as sentinels can assist in monitoring the presence of BIV in northern Australian freshwater streams, and thereby the potential dangers to native fauna from this agent.


KEY WORDS: Bohle iridovirus · Serological survey · ELISA · Reptiles · Crocodiles · Turtles · Snakes


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Cite this article as: Ariel E, Elliott E, Meddings JI, Miller J, Santos MB, Owens L (2017) Serological survey of Australian native reptiles for exposure to ranavirus. Dis Aquat Org 126:173-183. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03172

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