Historic occurrence of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis populations from Missouri

Catherine M. Bodinof, Jeffrey T. Briggler, Mary C. Duncan, Jeff Beringer, Joshua J. Millspaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) was recently detected in Missouri hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis populations that have declined precipitously for unclear reasons. The objective of this study was to determine whether Bd occurred historically in Missouri hellbender populations or is a relatively novel occurrence. Epidermal tissue was removed from 216 archived hellbenders collected from 7 Missouri streams between 1896 and 1994. Histological techniques and an immunoperoxidase stain were used to confirm historic occurrence of Bd infection in hellbenders from the North Fork of the White (1969, 1973, 1975), Meramec (1975, 1986), Big Piney (1986), and Current rivers (1988). Bd was not detected in hellbenders from the Niangua, Gasconade or Eleven Point rivers. The study detected no evidence for endemism of Bd in Missouri hellbender populations prior to 1969, despite the fact that nearly one third of the hellbenders sampled were collected earlier. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that Bd is a non-endemic pathogen in North America that was introduced in the second half of the twentieth century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
Volume96
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 29 2011

Keywords

  • Amphibian decline
  • Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis
  • Chytrid
  • Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
  • Hellbender
  • Missouri

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