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First detection of the emerging fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivoransin Germany

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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 Salamandraspecies ( S. salamandra, S. algira, S. corsica, and S. infraimmaculata), while Bsalinfection was confirmed in nine subspecies of S. salamandraand in S. algira. Our study indicates that this pathogen can potentially infect all fire salamander species and subspecies. If Bsalspreads from captive collections to wild populations, then a similar devastating effect associated with high mortality should be expected.

Affiliations: 1: 1Zoological Institute, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany; 2: 2Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium; 3: 3Department of Biogeography, Trier University, Trier, Germany; 4: 4Exomed – Institut für veterinärmedizinische Betreuung niederer Wirbeltiere und Exoten, Berlin, Germany; 5: 5UFZ – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Department of Conservation Biology, Leipzig, Germany

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2015-11-10
2017-11-17

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