DAO 86:9-13 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02098

First detection of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in free-ranging populations of amphibians on mainland Asia: survey in South Korea

HyoJin Yang1,2, HaeJun Baek2, Richard Speare3,*, Rebecca Webb3, SunKyung Park2, TaeHo Kim2, Kelly C. Lasater2, SangPhil Shin1, SangHo Son4, JaeHak Park5, MiSook Min2, YoungJun Kim2, Kijeong Na6, Hang Lee2, SeChang Park1,*

1Aquatic Animal Medicine Laboratory, 2Conservation Genome Resource Bank for Korean Wildlife (CGRB), and 5Department of Laboratory Animal Medicine, BK21 Program for Veterinary Science and College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea
3Amphibian Diseases Ecology Group, Anton Breinl Centre for Public Health and Tropical Medicine, James Cook University, Townsville 4811, Australia  4Mulsari Farm, Cheongyang-Gun, Chungcheongnam-Do 529-840, South Korea
6College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Chungbuk 361-763, South Korea
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Chytridiomycosis, a disease that has caused amphibian population declines globally and elevated many species of anurans to endangered or threatened status, has recently been declared an internationally notifiable disease. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the amphibian chytrid fungus causing this disease, has not been previously reported in Korea or on mainland Asia. Thirty-six frog specimens representing 7 species were collected from the wild in South Korea and examined for Bd using standard PCR. Bd was detected in 14 (38.8%) samples from 3 species (Bufo gargarizans, Hyla japonica, and Rana catesbiana). Skin sections from all 14 PCR-positive frogs were examined using 2 staining techniques: haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and Bd immunoperoxidase (IPX). In histological sections, zoosporangia were found in 6 frogs, with lower sensitivity for H&E (21%) than for IPX (46%). Intensity of infection, based on histopathology, was low in all frogs. These results confirm that Bd is present in South Korea and, hence, on the Asian mainland. Studies are urgently required to determine the impact of chytridiomycosis on Korean amphibians, and to map the distribution of Bd in Korea and other Asian mainland countries.


KEY WORDS: Chytridiomycosis · Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Amphibian decline · Korea · Fungus


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Cite this article as: Yang HJ, Baek THJ, Speare R, Webb R and others (2009) First detection of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in free-ranging populations of amphibians on mainland Asia: survey in South Korea. Dis Aquat Org 86:9-13. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02098

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