Survey of Pathogenic Chytrid Fungi (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans) in Salamanders from Three Mountain Ranges in Europe and the Americas
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Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is a virulent fungal pathogen that infects salamanders. It is implicated in the recent collapse of several populations of fire salamanders in Europe. This pathogen seems much like that of its sister species, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the agent responsible for anuran extinctions and extirpations worldwide, and is considered to be an emerging global threat to salamander communities. Bsal thrives at temperatures found in many mountainous regions rich in salamander species; because of this, we have screened specimens of salamanders representing 17 species inhabiting mountain ranges in three continents: The Smoky Mountains, the Swiss Alps, and the Peruvian Andes. We screened 509 salamanders, with 192 representing New World salamanders that were never tested for Bsal previously. Bsal was not detected, and Bd was mostly present at low prevalence except for one site in the Andes.
KeywordsAlps Amphibians Andes Appalachia Conservation Caudata Plethodontidae Salamandridae Wildlife disease
We thank the SIU Herpetologist Enthusiasts of Southern Illinois student organization for field assistance.
Funding was provided by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, IDNR/US Fish and Wildlife Service, Rufford Small Grants Foundation, Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Amazon Conservation Association, and SIU start-up funds to AC.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable institutional and/or national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. Also, additional informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included in this article.
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