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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03557

    Bad neighbours? Dynamics of amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in three co-occurring frog species of southern Sydney

    Jordann Crawford-Ash*, Jodi J. L. Rowley

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Wildlife disease is a major cause of global biodiversity loss. Amongst the most devastating is the disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). This disease has contributed to declines and extinctions in hundreds of amphibian species, but not all species are affected equally. Some amphibian hosts are capable of carrying high levels of Bd infection without population declines, acting as reservoir species for the pathogen and driving population declines in sympatric species. In Australia, several species have been proposed as reservoir species, however our understanding of Bd is derived from studies that are highly geographically and taxonomically biased and our ability to extrapolate from these systems is unknown. We examined the prevalence and intensity of Bd infection in three frog species in a previously unstudied host–pathogen system in temperate eastern Australia: The blue mountains tree frog Litoria citropa a poorly-known species predicted to be susceptible to Bd infection, and the common eastern froglet Crinia signifera and the stony creek frog Litoria lesueuri both identified as reservoir species in other regions. We found L. citropa and L. lesueuri were infected with Bd at a high prevalence and often high intensity, while the reverse was true for C. signifera. All species were detected at moderate abundance and there was no evidence of morbidity and mortality. Our findings do not support C. signifera and L. lesueuri being reservoir species in this system, highlighting the importance of region-specific studies to inform the conservation management.