, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 128–140 | Cite as

The Chytrid Fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is Widespread Among Cuban Amphibians

  • Antonio CádizEmail author
  • Mey Ling Reytor
  • Luis M. Díaz
  • Tara Chestnut
  • John A. Burns
  • George Amato
Original Contribution


The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a generalist amphibian pathogen responsible for chytridiomycosis. It was documented for the first time in Cuba in 2007, the apparent cause of the decline in one species of toad. In a recent survey, Bd was reported only for the highlands of Central Cuba. In the present study, we reexamined the geographic distribution and level of impact of Bd in Cuba by conducting an island-wide sampling in 10 localities and collecting skin swabs from 18 species and 28 environmental samples. We report detection of Bd in 60% of sampled sites and in 58% of sampled taxa. We show that Bd is associated with riparian, arboreal and terrestrial species, and it was estimated to occur in approximately 30% of the aquatic habitats we sampled. In addition, we confirmed that a dying individual of the species Eleutherodactylus casparii was severely infected with Bd. We also rise concern about the endanger toad Peltophryne longinasus and about three species of endemic riparian frogs that were not detected during our surveys. This study demonstrates that this pathogen is widespread throughout Cuba and provides relevant evidence to advance our understanding of its detection in amphibians and the aquatic environment in Cuba and about the occurrence of Bd in species with different ecologies. We provide valuable baseline information for Bd risk assessment and decision-making processes to mitigate its negative impact on Cuban amphibians.


Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Cuba Eleutherodactylus Peltophryne longinasus Wildlife disease Aquatic 



This work was supported by the Rufford Small Grant Foundation (Project Number 18878-1 to Mey Ling Reytor and Antonio Cádiz) and The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (Project Number 14259845 to Antonio Cádiz). A research grant from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (PROLAB Grant) to Antonio Cádiz allowed him to conduct laboratory experiments at The American Museum of Natural History. Our gratitude to Amphibian Ark for partial support of fieldwork, especially to Kevin Zippel and Kevin Johnson. We are very grateful to Rachel Batista, Rosana Gonzalez and Manuel Iturriaga for their assistance during fieldwork. Ariatna Linares helped during fieldwork coordination. Gricelia Calzada supported us with housing and hospitality. The Faculty of Biology and The Museum of Natural History of Cuba provided legal support for expeditions. David Bird and Darren Reynolds from the University of West of England, Wolfgang Feichtinger from the University of Wuerzburg, Masakado Kawata from Tohoku University and Jenny Urbina from Oregon State University kindly provided sampling equipment. Deanna H. Olson from Pacific Northwest Research Station provided Bd strain used for standards. Rebecca Hersch provided laboratory assistance. This manuscript was greatly improved thanks to two anonymous reviewers.

Supplementary material

10393_2018_1383_MOESM1_ESM.docx (77 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 77 kb)


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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Alliance 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of BiologyHavana UniversityLa HavanaCuba
  2. 2.National Museum of Natural History of CubaLa HavanaCuba
  3. 3.Mt Rainier National ParkWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Sackler Institute for Comparative GenomicsAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.WeehawkenUSA

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