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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 84:1-7 (2009)  -  DOI:

Experimental infection of North American plethodontid salamanders with the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

V. M. Vazquez1,*, B. B. Rothermel2,4, A. P. Pessier3

1University of Georgia, Plant Biology Department, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA
2Austin Peay State University, The Center of Excellence for Field Biology, PO Box 4718, Clarksville, Tennessee 37044, USA
3Zoological Society of San Diego, Wildlife Disease Laboratories, PO Box 120551, San Diego, California 92112, USA
4Present address: Archbold Biological Station, PO Box 2057, Lake Placid, Florida 33862, USA

ABSTRACT: The presence in the southeastern USA of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a fungal pathogen of amphibians, is a potential threat to the diverse salamander assemblages in the region. In this study, we tested the susceptibility of plethodontid salamanders to infection with B. dendrobatidis. We experimentally infected one terrestrial species (Plethodon metcalfi) and one stream-dwelling species (Desmognathus monticola). Mortality of P. metcalfi due to B. dendrobatidis infection was 41.7% and was higher at 8°C (75%) than at 16°C (8.3%). B. dendrobatidis did not cause any mortality in D. monticola. Infected salamanders exhibited few of the clinical signs associated with B. dendrobatidis infection; however, they exhibited histologic signs of disease. Our results suggest that Plethodon species in the southeastern USA are at risk of becoming infected with B. dendrobatidis and developing chytridiomycosis. However, some animals may have survived with or cleared the infection. Additional studies are required to determine whether chytridiomycosis is a significant factor in declines of plethodontid salamanders.

KEY WORDS: Chytridiomycosis · Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Salamander · Amphibian · Mortality

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Cite this article as: Vazquez VM, Rothermel BB, Pessier AP (2009) Experimental infection of North American plethodontid salamanders with the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Dis Aquat Org 84:1-7.

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