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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 112:229-235 (2015)  -  DOI:

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in natural and farmed Louisiana crayfish populations: prevalence and implications

Laura A. Brannelly1,*, Taegan A. McMahon2, Mitchell Hinton3, Daniel Lenger4, Corinne L. Richards-Zawacki4

1One Health Research Group, College of Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
2Department of Biology, University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida, USA
3Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, University of California at Davis, Davis, California, USA
4Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been linked to global declines and extinctions of amphibians, making it one of the most devastating wildlife pathogens known. Understanding the factors that affect disease dynamics in this system is critical for mitigating infection and protecting threatened species. Crayfish are hosts of this pathogen and can transmit Bd to amphibians. Because they co-occur with susceptible amphibian communities, crayfish may be important alternative hosts for Bd. Understanding the prevalence and seasonal dynamics of crayfish infections is of agricultural and ecological interest in areas where crayfish are farmed and traded for human consumption. We conducted a survey of Bd in farmed and natural crayfish (Procambarus spp.) populations in Louisiana, USA. We found that Bd prevalence and infection intensity was low in both farmed and native populations and that prevalence varied seasonally in wild Louisiana crayfish. This seasonal pattern mirrors that seen in local amphibians. As crayfish are an important globally traded freshwater taxon, even with low prevalence, they could be an important vector in the spread of Bd.

KEY WORDS: Alternative hosts · Aquaculture · Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Enzootic · Invasive species · Procambarus clarkii

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Cite this article as: Brannelly LA, McMahon TA, Hinton M, Lenger D, Richards-Zawacki CL (2015) Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in natural and farmed Louisiana crayfish populations: prevalence and implications. Dis Aquat Org 112:229-235.

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