, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 127-134

First Evidence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in China: Discovery of Chytridiomycosis in Introduced American Bullfrogs and Native Amphibians in the Yunnan Province, China

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Abstract

Although the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the etiological agent of amphibian chytridiomycosis, has been implicated in mass mortality and population declines on several continents around the world, there have been no reports on the presence of Bd infections in amphibians in China. We employed quantitative PCR and histological techniques to investigate the presence of Bd in introduced North American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) (referred to hereafter as bullfrog) and native amphibians in bullfrog-invaded areas of the Yunnan Province, China. A total of 259 samples at five wild sites were collected between June and September in 2007 and 2008, including bullfrogs and four native amphibian species (Rana pleuraden, Rana chaochiaoensis, Odorrana andersonii, and Bombina maxima). In addition, 37 samples of adult bullfrogs were obtained from a food market. Bd infections were discovered in bullfrogs and three native amphibian species from all of the surveyed sites. Of the 39 Bd-positive samples, 35 were from wild-caught bullfrog tadpoles, postmetamorphic bullfrogs, R. pleuraden, R. chaochiaoensis, and O. andersonii, and four were from adult bullfrogs from the market. Our results provide the first evidence of the presence of Bd in Chinese amphibians, suggesting that native amphibian diversity in China is at risk from Bd. There is an urgent need to monitor the distribution of Bd in amphibians in China and understand the susceptibility of native amphibian species to chytridiomycosis. Strict regulations on the transportation of bullfrogs and the breeding of bullfrogs in markets and farms should be drafted in order to stop the spread of Bd by bullfrogs.