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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 117:245-252 (2016)  -  DOI:

Physiological responses of Brazilian amphibians to an enzootic infection of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

Rafael P. Bovo1,*, Denis V. Andrade1, Luís Felipe Toledo2, Ana V. Longo3, David Rodriguez4, Célio F. B. Haddad1, Kelly R. Zamudio3, C. Guilherme Becker1

1Departamento de Zoologia, c. p. 199, Universidade Estadual Paulista, 13506-900, Rio Claro, SP, Brazil
2Laboratório de História Natural de Anfíbios Brasileiros (LaHNAB), Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Rua Monteiro Lobato, 255, 13083-862, Campinas, SP, Brazil
3Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
4Department of Biology, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Pathophysiological effects of clinical chytridiomycosis in amphibians include disorders of cutaneous osmoregulation and disruption of the ability to rehydrate, which can lead to decreased host fitness or mortality. Less attention has been given to physiological responses of hosts where enzootic infections of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) do not cause apparent population declines in the wild. Here, we experimentally tested whether an enzootic strain of Bd causes significant mortality and alters host water balance (evaporative water loss, EWL; skin resistance, Rs; and water uptake, WU) in individuals of 3 Brazilian amphibian species (Dendropsophus minutus, n = 19; Ischnocnema parva, n = 17; Brachycephalus pitanga, n = 15). Infections with enzootic Bd caused no significant mortality, but we found an increase in Rs in 1 host species concomitant with a reduction in EWL. These results suggest that enzootic Bd infections can indeed cause sub-lethal effects that could lead to reduction of host fitness in Brazilian frogs and that these effects vary among species. Thus, our findings underscore the need for further assessment of physiological responses to Bd infections in different host species, even in cases of sub-clinical chytridiomycosis and long-term enzootic infections in natural populations.

KEY WORDS: Chytridiomycosis · Amphibian declines · Fitness · Evaporative water loss · Water uptake · Amphibian skin · Mortality

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Cite this article as: Bovo RP, Andrade DV, Toledo LF, Longo AV and others (2016) Physiological responses of Brazilian amphibians to an enzootic infection of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Dis Aquat Org 117:245-252.

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