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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 145:79-88 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03603

Seasonal variation of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in a threatened anuran species from Uruguay

Mariana Retuci Pontes1,2,*, Cecilia Bardier3,4, Daniel Medina1,5, Gisela Pereira6, Carolina Lambertini1, Luís Felipe Toledo1

1Laboratório de História Natural de Anfíbios Brasileiros (LaHNAB), Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP 13083-862, Brazil
2Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP 13083-862, Brazil
3Departament of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich (UZH), Zurich 8057, Switzerland
4Programa de Desarrollo de las Ciencias Básicas, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay
5Sistema Nacional de Investigación (SNI), SENACYT, Clayton 0816-02852, Panama, Republic of Panama
6Laboratorio de Sistemática e Historia Natural de Vertebrados, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Chytridiomycosis, an emergent infectious disease caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is considered one of the drivers of the current amphibian biodiversity loss. To inform endangered species conservation efforts, it is essential to improve our knowledge about the abiotic and biotic factors that influence Bd infection dynamics in the wild. Here, we analyzed variation of Bd infection in the redbelly toad Melanophryniscus montevidensis, a threatened bufonid from Uruguay. We tested the influence of temperature, precipitation, season, and host population size on Bd prevalence and intensity. Additionally, considering the sub-lethal effects of Bd, we tested if these variables, potentially through their effect on Bd, also explain the variation in host body condition. We determined a high Bd prevalence of 41% (100/241), and that population size influenced both Bd prevalence and infection intensity. We identified an effect of precipitation and season on Bd infection intensity and an effect of season on toad body condition. In addition, we found a negative effect of infection intensity on body condition; moreover, while some toads cleared the infection, their body condition did not improve, suggesting a long-term cost. This is the first report on host population size as an important factor in Bd infection dynamics in a threatened anuran species, and seasonal demographic changes appear to play an important role in the dynamics. Finally, we highlight the need for monitoring Bd in this and other endangered amphibian populations, especially those within the genus Melanophryniscus, which includes several Endangered and Data Deficient species in South America.


KEY WORDS: Chytrid infection · Conservation · Redbelly toad · Melanophryniscus montevidensis


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Cite this article as: Retuci Pontes M, Bardier C, Medina D, Pereira G, Lambertini C, Toledo LF (2021) Seasonal variation of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in a threatened anuran species from Uruguay. Dis Aquat Org 145:79-88. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03603

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