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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 92:223-230 (2010)  -  DOI:

Contribution to the DAO Special 'Chytridiomycosis: An emerging disease'

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection dynamics in the Columbia spotted frog Rana luteiventris in north Idaho, USA

Danelle M. Russell1,2, Caren S. Goldberg1, Lisette P. Waits1, Erica Bree Rosenblum2,*

1Fish and Wildlife Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844-1136, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844-3051, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The pathogenic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is contributing to amphibian declines worldwide. Temperature plays an important role in both pathogen growth and host immune function, but little is known about seasonal dynamics of Bd infection in north temperate regions. Our objective was to increase understanding of Bd disease ecology by investigating patterns of Bd infection of Columbia spotted frogs Rana luteiventris across seasons, age classes, and sexes in north Idaho, USA. We collected skin swabs from 223 R. luteiventris in spring, summer, and fall 2009 at 7 ponds in the Palouse region and quantified Bd zoospores for each sample using quantitative PCR. Across seasons, Bd prevalence of adults was higher in summer than in spring or fall, suggesting that individuals may be clearing low-level infections over the summer. Among age classes, all but one late stage tadpole (Gosner stage 43–45) tested negative for Bd. Conversely, 100% of metamorphs tested positive for Bd and had the highest Bd loads of all age classes, suggesting they may be the most vulnerable age class. Adult R. luteiventris had high infection prevalence (>60%) in all seasons, indicating that Bd infection is maintained within populations and that adults likely serve as disease reservoirs across seasons. Among adults, we also found weak evidence for females having higher infection prevalence than males. Further laboratory and field studies are needed to determine whether there are individual and population impacts from Bd on R. luteiventris and other amphibians in north Idaho.

KEY WORDS: Amphibian declines · Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Chytrid · Idaho · Rana luteiventris

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Cite this article as: Russell DM, Goldberg CS, Waits LP, Rosenblum EB (2010) Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection dynamics in the Columbia spotted frog Rana luteiventris in north Idaho, USA. Dis Aquat Org 92:223-230.

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