DAO 91:91-96 (2010)  -  doi:10.3354/dao02244

Prevalence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in three species of wild frogs on Prince Edward Island, Canada

M. J. Forzán1,*, R. Vanderstichel2, N. S. Hogan3, K. Teather3, J. Wood4

1Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre and 2Dept. of Health Management, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, C1A 4P3, Canada
3Dept. of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, C1A 4P3, Canada
4Pisces Molecular LLC, 1600 Range St., Suite 201, Boulder, Colorado 80301, USA

ABSTRACT: Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has resulted in the decline or extinction of approximately 200 frog species worldwide. It has been reported throughout much of North America, but its presence on Prince Edward Island (PEI), on the eastern coast of Canada, was unknown. To determine the presence and prevalence of Bd on PEI, skin swabs were collected from 115 frogs from 18 separate sites across the province during the summer of 2009. The swabs were tested through single round end-point PCR for the presence of Bd DNA. Thirty-one frogs were positive, including 25/93 (27%) green frogs Lithobates (Rana) clamitans, 5/20 (25%) northern leopard frogs L. (R.) pipiens, and 1/2 (50%) wood frogs L. sylvaticus (formerly R. sylvatica); 12 of the 18 (67%) sites had at least 1 positive frog. The overall prevalence of Bd infection was estimated at 26.9% (7.2–46.7%, 95% CI). Prevalence amongst green frogs and leopard frogs was similar, but green frogs had a stronger PCR signal when compared to leopard frogs, regardless of age (p < 0.001) and body length (p = 0.476). Amongst green frogs, juveniles were more frequently positive than adults (p = 0.001). Green frogs may be the most reliable species to sample when looking for Bd in eastern North America. The 1 wood frog positive for Bd was found dead from chytridiomycosis; none of the other frogs that were positive for Bd by PCR showed any obvious signs of illness. Further monitoring will be required to determine what effect Bd infection has on amphibian population health on PEI.


KEY WORDS: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Chytrid · Prevalence · Prince Edward Island · Canada · Frogs · Skin swabs · PCR


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Cite this article as: Forzán MJ, Vanderstichel R, Hogan NS, Teather K, Wood J (2010) Prevalence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in three species of wild frogs on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Dis Aquat Org 91:91-96

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