DAO 83:187-193 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02007

Effects of the pathogenic water mold Saprolegnia ferax on survival of amphibian larvae

John M. Romansic1,3,*, Kristin A. Diez1, Elise M. Higashi1, James E. Johnson2, Andrew R. Blaustein1

1Department of Zoology, 3029 Cordley Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, Science Building, Room 338, 400 East University Way, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington 98926-7537, USA
3Present address: Department of Biology, 4202 East Fowler Ave., SCA110, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620, USA

ABSTRACT: Infectious diseases are a significant threat to worldwide biodiversity. Amphibian declines, a significant part of current biodiversity losses, are in many cases associated with infectious disease. Water molds are one group of pathogens affecting amphibians on a worldwide basis. Although water molds have been studied extensively for their effects on host embryos, little information is available about how they affect post-embryonic amphibians. We tested the effects of one species of water mold, Saprolegnia ferax, in a comparative study of larvae of 4 amphibian species: Pseudacris regilla (Pacific treefrog), Rana cascadae (Cascades frog), Ambystoma macrodactylum (long-toed salamander), and R. aurora (red-legged frog). S. ferax can kill amphibians at the embryonic and juvenile life history stages, depending on the amphibian species. In the present study, a 1 wk exposure to S. ferax killed P. regilla larvae and a 2 wk exposure killed R. aurora larvae. Larvae of the other host species were unaffected after 1 wk of exposure to S. ferax. Our results suggest that S. ferax can kill amphibian larvae and further suggest that evaluation of how pathogens affect amphibians at the population level requires investigation at various life stages.


KEY WORDS: Water mold · Saprolegnia · Amphibian · Ambystoma macrodactylum · Pseudacris regilla · Rana aurora · Rana cascadae


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Cite this article as: Romansic JM, Diez KA, Higashi EM, Johnson JE, Blaustein AR (2009) Effects of the pathogenic water mold Saprolegnia ferax on survival of amphibian larvae. Dis Aquat Org 83:187-193. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02007

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