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Prevalence of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in stream and wetland amphibians in Maryland, USA

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The amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, responsible for the potentially fatal amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, is known to occur in a large and ever increasing number of amphibian populations around the world. However, sampling has been biased towards stream- and wetland-breeding anurans, with little attention paid to stream-associated salamanders. We sampled three frog and three salamander species in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Maryland, by swabbing animals for PCR analysis to detect DNA of B. dendrobatidis. Using PCR, we detected B. dendrobatidis DNA in both stream and wetland amphibians, and report here the first occurrence of the pathogen in two species of stream-associated salamanders. Future research should focus on mechanisms within habitats that may affect persistence and dissemination of B. dendrobatidis among stream-associated salamanders

Affiliations: 1: USGS—Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, 12100 Beech Forest Rd. Laurel, Maryland 20708, USA;, Email: ehgrant@usgs.gov; 2: USGS—Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, 12100 Beech Forest Rd. Laurel, Maryland 20708, USA; 3: Department of Pathology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23298, USA; 4: Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23298, USA

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