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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 133:19-24 (2019)  -  DOI:

Fatal phaeohyphomycosis due to Exophiala sp. infection in a free-living common toad Bufo bufo

Katharina Seilern-Moy1,*, Julia Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez2, Shaheed K. Macgregor1, Shinto K. John1, Chris Linton3, Andrew A. Cunningham1, Becki Lawson1

1Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RY, UK
2IDEXX Laboratories Limited, Wetherby, West Yorkshire LS22 7DN, UK
3Public Health England, Bristol BS10 5NB, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: A wild adult female common toad Bufo bufo found dead in Scotland in September 2016 was observed to have hepatomegaly, a large soft tissue mass in the coelomic cavity (2.7 g, 3.5 × 2.3 × 1.8 cm) and numerous dark-red papules (1-2 mm diameter) in the skin and subjacent tissue over the back and dorsal aspects of the limbs. Histopathological examination identified marked hepatitis and coelomitis associated with pigmented fungal hyphae, which are results consistent with a diagnosis of phaeohyphomycosis. Sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer region and the D1-D2 region of the large subunit of the ribosomal RNA gene from affected liver tissue identified the presence of Exophiala (Chaetothyriales) sp., a black yeast previously identified as a cause of amphibian phaeohyphomycosis. To our knowledge, this is the first published report of Exophiala sp. in a wild or captive amphibian in Europe and the first description of phaeohyphomycosis affecting a free-living amphibian in Great Britain. Exophiala spp. are saprobes and opportunistic pathogens. It has been postulated that phaeohyphomycosis is a disease of immunocompromised amphibians; however, we found no evidence of significant concurrent infection or generalised debility in this common toad. Phaeohyphomycosis appears to be a sporadic cause of mortality in amphibians, and this report adds to the growing list of pathogens known to affect wild amphibians in Europe.

KEY WORDS: Mycosis · Black yeast · Amphibian population declines · Wildlife disease surveillance

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Cite this article as: Seilern-Moy K, Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez J, Macgregor SK, John SK, Linton C, Cunningham AA, Lawson B (2019) Fatal phaeohyphomycosis due to Exophiala sp. infection in a free-living common toad Bufo bufo. Dis Aquat Org 133:19-24.

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