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Pseudacris triseriata (western chorus frog) and Rana sylvatica (wood frog) chytridiomycosis

January 1, 2003

The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a known pathogen of anuran amphibians, and has been correlated with amphibian die-offs worldwide (Daszak et. al. 1999. Emerging Infectious Diseases 5:735-748). In Colorado, B. dendrobatidis has infected Boreal toads (Bufo boreas) (Muths et. al., in review) and has been identified on museum specimens of northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) (Carey et. al. 1999. Develop. Comp. Immunol. 23:459-472). We report the first verified case of chytrid fungus in chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) and wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) in the United States. We collected seven P. triseriata, and two adult and two juvenile R. sylvatica in the Kawuneeche Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) during June 2001. These animals were submitted to the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) as part of an amphibian health evaluation in RMNP. Chorus frogs were shipped in one container. Wood frog adults and juveniles were shipped in two separate containers. Histological examinations of all chorus frogs and 3 of 4 wood frogs were positive for chytrid fungus infection. The fourth (adult) wood frog was too decomposed for meaningful histology. Histological findings consisted of multifocally mild to diffusely severe infections of the epidermis of the ventrum and hindlimb digital skin. Chytrid thalli were confined to the thickened epidermis (hyperkeratosis), were spherical to oval, and occasional thalli contained characteristic discharge pores or zoospores (Green and Kagarise Sherman 1999. J. Herpetol 35:92-103; Fellers et al. 2001. Copeia 2001:945-953). We cannot confirm that all specimens carried the fungus at collection, because infection may have spread from one individual to all other individuals in each container during transport. Further sampling of amphibians in Kawuneeche Valley is warranted to determine the rate of infection and mortality in these populations.

Publication Year 2003
Title Pseudacris triseriata (western chorus frog) and Rana sylvatica (wood frog) chytridiomycosis
Authors S.E. Rittman, E. Muths, D. E. Green
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Herpetological Review
Index ID 1003690
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wildlife Health Center