First detection of the emerging fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in Germany

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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The emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis is one of the major factors triggering global amphibian declines. A recently discovered species of chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), likely originated in East Asia, has led to massive declines in populations of fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) after its apparent introduction to the Netherlands and Belgium. Here, we report the first detection of this pathogen in Germany where it caused mass mortality of fire salamanders in a captive collection. Salamanders from this collection showed an almost 100% prevalence of infection with Bsal. Supposed Bsal-induced mortality occurred in multiple Salamandra species (S. salamandra, S. algira, S. corsica, and S. infraimmaculata), while Bsal infection was confirmed in nine subspecies of S. salamandra and in S. algira. Our study indicates that this pathogen can potentially infect all fire salamander species and subspecies. If Bsal spreads from captive collections to wild populations, then a similar devastating effect associated with high mortality should be expected.

First detection of the emerging fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in Germany

in Amphibia-Reptilia

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Figures

  • View in gallery

    (A) Skin lesions in Bsal-infected S. s. bernadezi. (B) S. s. fastuosa showing typical lesions of Bsal infections: multiple skin ulcerations (e.g. those indicated by the white arrow) and presence of patches of shed skin (black arrowhead). This figure is published in colour in the online version.

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