DAO 63:95-100 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/dao063095

Influence of temperature on Ranavirus infection in larval salamanders Ambystoma tigrinum

Santos Rojas, Kathryn Richards, James K. Jancovich, Elizabeth W. Davidson*

School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287-4501, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Temperature strongly influenced percent mortality and time to death of salamanders exposed to the Ambystoma tigrinum virus (iridovirus) (ATV). Most salamanders survived when exposed at 26°C, whereas all died at 18°C and nearly all died at 10°C. Some asymptomatic salamanders that survived 60 d at 10 or 26°C were found to be carrying virus. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmed the presence of virus in ATV-exposed salamanders but was found to be less sensitive than cell culture in detecting ATV at low concentrations. PCR products were 100% identical to ATV in the major capsid protein sequence. Virus titer was higher in salamanders held at 10°C than at 18°C but little virus, if any, was present in the small number of salamanders that died at 26°C. These results may help explain periodic viral epizootics in field populations of A. tigrinum where water temperatures fluctuate widely.

KEY WORDS: Epizootic · Cell culture · Iridovirus · Mortality

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