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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 119:179-187 (2016)  -  DOI:

Dead or alive? Viability of chytrid zoospores shed from live amphibian hosts

Chelsea Maguire1, Graziella V. DiRenzo2, Tate S. Tunstall2, Carly R. Muletz2, Kelly R. Zamudio3, Karen R. Lips2,*

1Department of Integrative Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL 61820, USA
2Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20744, USA
3Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14583, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Pathogens vary in virulence and rates of transmission because of many differences in the host, the pathogen, and their environment. The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), affects amphibian hosts differently, causing extinction and population declines in some species but having limited effects on others. Phenotypic differences in zoospore production rates among Bd lineages likely contribute to some of the variation observed among host responses, although no studies have quantified the viability of zoospores shed from live animals. We compared host survivorship, infection intensity, shedding rates, and zoospore viability between 2 species of endangered tropical frogs, Hylomantis lemur and Atelopus zeteki, when exposed to a highly virulent lineage of Bd (JEL 423). We applied a dye to zoospores 30 to 60 min following animal soaks, to estimate shedding rate and proportion of live zoospores shed by different species. The average infection intensity for A. zeteki was nearly 17 times higher (31455 ± 10103 zoospore genomic equivalents [ZGEs]) than that of H. lemur (1832 ± 1086 ZGEs), and A. zeteki died earlier than H. lemur. The proportion of viable zoospores was ~80% in both species throughout the experiment, although A. zeteki produced many more zoospores, suggesting it may play a disproportionate role in spreading disease in communities where it occurs, because the large number of viable zoospores they produce might increase infection in other species where they are reintroduced.

KEY WORDS: Disease · Transmission · Virulence · Frogs · Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Atelopus zeteki · Hylomantis lemur

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Cite this article as: Maguire C, DiRenzo GV, Tunstall TS, Muletz CR, Zamudio KR, Lips KR (2016) Dead or alive? Viability of chytrid zoospores shed from live amphibian hosts. Dis Aquat Org 119:179-187.

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