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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Chytrid fungus in amphibians from the lowland Brazilian Amazon

    Carolina Lambertini, Julia R. Ernetti*, Alexandre F. R. Missassi, Rafael F. Jorge, Domingos da Silva Leite, Albertina P. Lima, Luís Felipe Toledo

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Infectious diseases are one of the main threats to biodiversity. The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is associated with several amphibian losses around the globe, and environmental conditions may dictate the success of pathogen spread. The Brazilian Amazon has been considered climatically unsuitable for chytrid fungus, but additional information on Bd dynamics in this ecoregion is still lacking. We sampled 462 amphibians (449 anurans, 4 caudatans, and 9 caecilians), representing 57 species from the Brazilian Amazon and quantified Bd infections using qPCR. We tested whether abiotic variables predicted the risk of Bd infections, and tested for relationships between biotic variables and Bd. Finally, we experimentally tested the effects of Bd strains CLFT 156 and CLFT 102 (from the southern and northern Atlantic Forest, respectively) on Atelopus manauensis. We detected higher Bd prevalence than those previously reported for the Brazilian Amazon, and positive individuals in all three orders of amphibians sampled. Both biotic and abiotic predictors were related to prevalence, and no variable explained infection load. Moreover, we detected higher Bd prevalence on forested than open areas, while the host’s reproductive biology was not a factor. We detected higher mortality in the experimental group infected with CLFT 156, probably because this strain was isolated from a region characterized by discrepant climatic conditions (latitudinally more distant) when compared with the host’s sampling site in Amazon. The Lowland Brazilian Amazon is still underexplored and future studies targeting all amphibian orders are essential to better understand Bd infection dynamics in this region.