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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 152:127-138 (2022)  -  DOI:

Infectious disease threats to amphibians in Greece: new localities positive for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

Ilias Strachinis1,*, Rachel E. Marschang2, Petros Lymberakis3, Korina M. Karagianni1, Panagiotis Azmanis4

1Department of Genetics, Development and Molecular Biology, School of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54636, Greece
2LABOKLIN GmbH & Co. KG, Steubenstra├če 4, 97688 Bad Kissingen, Germany
3National History Museum of Crete, University of Crete, 71202Greece
4Dubai Falcon Hospital, 676R+46J Dubai, UAE
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: In the early 2000s, numerous cases of European amphibian population declines and mass die-offs started to emerge. Investigating those events led to the discovery that wild European amphibians were confronted with grave disease threats caused by introduced pathogens, namely the amphibian and the salamander chytrid fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal) and ranaviruses. In Greece, Bd was previously documented among wild amphibian populations in 2 different locations and 3 different species. However, no disease-related mass declines or mortality events have been reported. In this work, we build upon previous findings with new, subsequently obtained data, resulting in a 225-sample dataset of 14 species from 17 different locations throughout Greece, in order to examine the occurrence status of all 3 pathogens responsible for emerging infectious diseases in European amphibians. No positive samples for Bsal or ranavirus were recorded in any location. We confirmed the presence of Bd in 4 more localities and in 4 more species, including 1 urodelan (Macedonian crested newt Triturus macedonicus) and 1 introduced anuran (American bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus). All insular localities were negative for Bd, except for Crete, where Bd was identified in 2 different locations. Again, no mass declines or die-offs were recorded in any Bd-positive area or elsewhere. However, given the persistence of Bd across Greece over the past ~20 yr, monitoring efforts should continue, and ideally be further expanded.

KEY WORDS: Chytrid fungus · Ranavirus · Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Bd · Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans · Bsal · Frog · Salamander

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Cite this article as: Strachinis I, Marschang RE, Lymberakis P, Karagianni KM, Azmanis P (2022) Infectious disease threats to amphibians in Greece: new localities positive for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Dis Aquat Org 152:127-138.

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