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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 104:173-178 (2013)  -  DOI:

Infection and co-infection by the amphibian chytrid fungus and ranavirus in wild Costa Rican frogs

Steven M. Whitfield1,*, Erica Geerdes1, Iria Chacon2, Erick Ballestero Rodriguez2, Randall R. Jimenez3, Maureen A. Donnelly4, Jacob L. Kerby

1University of South Dakota, Biology Department, Vermillion, South Dakota 57069, USA
2Universidad de Costa Rica, Escuela de Biologia, San Pedro, Costa Rica
3Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Instituto Internacional en Conservación y Manejo en Vida Silvestre, Heredia, Costa Rica
4Florida International University, College of Arts and Sciences, Miami, Florida 33199, USA

ABSTRACT: Amphibian populations are globally threatened by emerging infectious diseases, and 2 pathogens in particular are recognized as major threats: the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and ranaviruses. Here, we evaluated the prevalence of infection by Bd and ranavirus in an assemblage of frogs from a lowland wet forest in Costa Rica. We found an overall prevalence of 21.3% for Bd and 16.6% for ranavirus, and detected both pathogens widely among our 20 sampled species. We found a positive association between ranavirus and Bd infection in one of our 4 most commonly sampled species. We also found a positive but non-significant association between infection by ranavirus and infection by Bd among species overall. Our study is among the first detailed evaluations of ranavirus prevalence in the American tropics, and to our knowledge is the first to detect a positive association between Bd and ranavirus in any species. Considerable research attention has focused on the ecology of Bd in tropical regions, yet we argue that greater research focus is necessary to understand the ecology and conservation impact of ranaviruses on amphibian populations already decimated by the emergence of Bd.

KEY WORDS: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Frog virus 3 · Amphibian decline · Emerging infectious diseases · Oophaga pumilio · Craugastor bransfordii · Craugastor fitzingeri

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Cite this article as: Whitfield SM, Geerdes E, Chacon I, Ballestero Rodriguez E, Jimenez RR, Donnelly MA, Kerby JL (2013) Infection and co-infection by the amphibian chytrid fungus and ranavirus in wild Costa Rican frogs. Dis Aquat Org 104:173-178.

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