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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03539

    Seasonal prevalence of the amphibian chytrid in a tropical pond-dwelling tadpole species

    Joice Ruggeri*,#, Ana Glaucia Da Silva Martins,#, Adão Henrique Rosa Domingos, Isaias Santos, Imran Bharat Viroomal, Luís Felipe Toledo

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Infection by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a major threat to amphibians and has caused catastrophic global declines of amphibian populations. Some studies have detected a seasonal pattern of infection associated with the local climate, and although most of them have focused on investigating the seasonality of Bd in relation to its impacts on amphibians, fewer have aimed to understand the chytrid persistence in the amphibian assemblage over seasons by investigating reservoir hosts. Since tadpoles are generally tolerant to Bd infection, they often play a relevant role in local disease dynamics. Thus, we hypothesized that tadpoles of Boana faber, a species that can be found in permanent ponds throughout the seasons, would function as Bd reservoirs. We therefore investigated Bd infection prevalence in tadpoles of this species over two years in a nature reserve. As expected, we detected a seasonal variation of Bd infection, with a higher prevalence of Bd during the coldest months (winter) when compared to the warmer months (summer). Interestingly, our seasonal-trend decomposition analysis showed that Bd prevalence is increasing annually in the area, which could either represent a natural fluctuation of this pathogen, or an imminent threat to that anuran assemblage. With this study, we highlight the tadpole of B. faber as a potential reservoir for Bd, and we suggest that monitoring Bd in such hosts could be a powerful tool for identifying priority areas for amphibian conservation.