DAO 131:233-238 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03298

NOTE
Widespread occurrence of the antifungal cutaneous bacterium Janthinobacterium lividum on Andean water frogs threatened by fungal disease

Andrew O. Rubio1,*, Sarah J. Kupferberg2, Victor Vargas García3, Alex Ttito4, Alexander Shepack5, Alessandro Catenazzi5

1Southern Illinois University, Department of Zoology, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA
2Questa Engineering, Pt. Richmond, CA 94807, USA
3Asociación Pro Fauna Silvestre Ayacucho, Peru
4Departamento de Ecologia, Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
5Florida International University, Department of Biological Sciences, Miami, FL 33199, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Amphibian diversity has declined due to the infectious disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Coexistence between amphibian hosts and this pathogen in some locations is attributed to the presence of the cutaneous bacterium Janthinobacterium lividum (Jliv). This microbe inhibits the growth of Bd on the host, reduces morbidity, and improves survival. Andean water frogs in the genus Telmatobius seem to be particularly vulnerable to the disease yet populations of T. intermedius and T. marmoratus persist in southern and central Peru. We investigated the presence of Jliv on these 2 frog species and assessed the relationship of Jliv presence with prevalence and intensity of Bd infection. By sampling 125 frogs from 7 streams (3323-3950 m a.s.l.) and 27 from a city market, we found spatial variation in the mutualism among populations (range 0-40% proportion of Jliv-positives). Overall, 57% of frogs were infected with Bd, 12.5% of frogs hosted both Jliv and Bd, while 7.2% hosted just Jliv. We found that the probability of an individual being infected with Bd was independent of the presence of Jliv; however, we did detect a protective effect of Jliv with respect to intensity of infection. The extent of Jliv distribution in the high Andes stands in stark contrast to the rarity of Jliv on frogs in lower elevation cloud forest biomes.


KEY WORDS: Amphibian conservation · Chytridiomycosis · Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Host defenses · Microbial symbiosis · Peru · Telmatobius · Telmatobiidae


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Cite this article as: Rubio AO, Kupferberg SJ, Vargas García V, Ttito A, Shepack A, Catenazzi A (2018) Widespread occurrence of the antifungal cutaneous bacterium Janthinobacterium lividum on Andean water frogs threatened by fungal disease. Dis Aquat Org 131:233-238. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03298

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