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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03712

    Infectious disease threats to amphibians in Greece: an updated report including new localities positive for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

    Ilias Strachinis*, Rachel E. Marschang, Petros Lymberakis, Korina M. Karagianni, Panagiotis Azmanis

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Right after the advent of the third millennium, numerous cases of European amphibian populations decline and mass die-offs started to emerge. Investigating those events led to the discovery that wild European amphibians were confronted with grave disease threats caused by introduced pathogens, namely, the amphibian and the salamander chytrid fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal) and ranaviruses. In Greece, Bd was previously documented among wild amphibian populations in two different locations and three different species. However, no disease-related mass declines or mortality events have been reported. In this work, we build upon previous findings with new, subsequently obtained data, resulting in a 225-sample dataset of 14 species from 17 different locations throughout Greece, in order to examine the occurrence status of all three pathogens responsible for emerging infectious diseases in European amphibians. No positive samples for Bsal or ranavirus were recorded in any location. We confirmed the presence of Bd in four more localities and in four more species, including one urodelan species (the Macedonian crested newt Triturus macedonicus) and one introduced anuran (the American bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus). All insular localities were negative for Bd, except for Crete, where Bd was identified in two different locations. Again, no mass declines or die-offs were recorded in any Bd-positive area or elsewhere. Possible introduction pathways of the pathogen and future safety measures are discussed.