Title

Prevalence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in immature eastern hellbenders Cryptobranchus alleganiensis from North Carolina, USA.

Digital Object Identifier / DOI

https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03493

Department

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Document Type

Article

Source

Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

Publication Date

7-16-2020

ISSN

0177-5103

Volume

140

First Page

73

Last Page

78

Abstract

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been detected in wild hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis populations, with rare instances of chytridiomycosis and Bd-induced mortality. To date, Bd surveillance in hellbender populations has been disproportionately focused on adult age classes. A lingering question is whether Bd might contribute to hellbender declines through disproportionate negative effects on immature age classes. The objective of this study was to quantify Bd prevalence and load in immature hellbenders in western North Carolina, USA. We conducted field surveys during 2018 and 2019 and collected 88 skin swabs from 84 hellbenders spanning 3 age classes. Bd was detected on 11% of individuals, including 8 larvae and 1 juvenile. We did not detect symptoms of chytridiomycosis or a decline in body condition in Bd-positive hellbenders. Load varied from approximately 1-153 zoospore equivalents for the 9 Bd-positive hellbenders and was not associated with size class of the individual. While hellbenders appeared to be abundant in each survey reach, more work is needed to determine whether Bd may increase the vulnerability of immature hellbenders to anthropogenic stressors.

PubMed ID

32672152

Rights

© Inter-Research 2020

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