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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03783

    Widespread occurrence of the amphibian chytrid panzootic lineage in Uruguay is constrained by climate

    Claudio Borteiro*, Gabriel Laufer, Noelia Gobel, Mailén Arleo, Francisco Kolenc, Sofía Cortizas, Diego A. Barrasso, Rafael O. de Sá, Alvaro Soutullo, Martin Ubilla, Claudio Martínez-Debat

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) causes chytridiomycosis, a disease among the main causes of amphibian declines worldwide. However, Bd studies on Neotropical amphibians from temperate areas are scarce. We present a comprehensive survey of Bd in Uruguay, in temperate central eastern South America, carried out between 2006 and 2014. Skin swabs of 535 specimens of 21 native and exotic frogs were tested by PCR. We used individual-level data to examine the relationship between infection, climatic variables, and their effects on body condition and the number of prey items found in stomach contents. Infection was widespread in free ranging anurans with an overall prevalence of 41.9%, detected in 15 native species, feral American bullfrogs (Aquarana catesbeiana), and captive specimens of Ceratophrys ornata and Xenopus laevis. Three haplotypes of the Bd ITS region were identified in native amphibians, all belonging to the global panzootic lineage (BdGPL), of which only one was present in exotic hosts. Despite high infection frequencies in different anurans, we found no evidence of morbidity or mortality attributable to chytridiomycosis, and we observed no discernible impact on body condition or consumed prey. Climatic conditions at the time of our surveys suggested that the chance of infection is associated with monthly mean temperature, mean humidity, and total precipitation. Temperatures below 21°C combined with moderate humidity and pronounced rainfall may increase the likelihood of infection. Multiple haplotypes of BdGPL combined with high frequencies of infection suggests an enzootic pattern in native species, underscoring the need for continued monitoring.