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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03560

    Gastrointestinal entamoebiasis in captive anurans in North America

    Tatiana C. Weisbrod, Albert B. Jeon, April Childress, Deborah B. Pouder, Jessy Castellanos-Gell, Nicole I. Stacy, Heather D. S. Walden, Michael M. Garner, Roy P. E. Yanong, Robert J. Ossiboff*

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Infections with Entamoeba spp. are recognized as a cause of clinical disease in many species including humans and reptiles; however, cases in amphibians are under-reported. Investigation of a mortality event among a captive population of Cranwell’s horned frogs Ceratophrys cranwelli at a production facility in Florida, USA, revealed that deaths were due to the newly described Entamoeba species CT1. Infection caused severe necroulcerative gastroenterocolitis with a predilection for the colon. To date, this Entamoeba species has only been described in invasive cane toads Rhinella marina in Australia. Retrospective screening of archived anuran cases from a zoological pathology service identified eight cases from captive populations that had histological evidence of gastrointestinal entamoebiasis. Molecular characterization was positive in three cases. Two cases, one in a Puerto Rican crested toad Bufo lemur and one in an Amazon milk frog Trachycephalus resinifictrix, showed 100% homology to Entamoeba ranarum and one case in a White’s tree frog Litoria caerulea showed 100% homology to Entamoeba sp. CT1. This is the first report of novel Entamoeba sp. CT1 being associated with clinical disease in anurans within North America and also the first report of this Entamoeba species causing disease within managed collections as far back as 2003.