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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03535

    Surveying for presence of salamander-killer fungus in Spanish captive collections of amphibians

    D. Lastra González, V. Baláž, P. Chajma, J. Vojar*

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), a pathogenic fungus causing the fatal disease chytridiomycosis in amphibians, was likely introduced to Europe through the trade in pet salamanders from Asia and then escaped into wild populations. Among European countries, Spain has a large number of private breeders and keepers of pet salamanders, and cases of Bsal in wild and captive populations already have been confirmed there. However, surveillance for the pathogen in Spanish collections of amphibians is sparse. Therefore, assisted by private owners and breeders, we surveyed 10 amphibian collections and analysed a total 317 samples for presence of Bsal. All our analyses yielded negative results. This apparent lack of Bsal cases in captivity should not encourage relaxation of vigilance, quarantine efforts or good practices. Because amphibian collections represent highly dynamic environments (animals are coming in and out), the pathogen could easily be introduced into a collection by new individuals. Any case of Bsal infection in captive animals could lead to its further spread to wild populations of susceptible species, potentially decimating them, and thus should be prevented.