Detection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Endemic Salamander Species from Central Texas


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May 2009


A nested PCR protocol was used to analyze five endemic salamander species from Central Texas for the presence of the emerging pathogen, chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis). Chytrid fungus was detected from samples of each of the five species sampled: with low abundance, in the Texas salamander (Eurycea neotenes) (1 positive out of 16 individuals tested; 1/16), the Blanco River Springs salamander (E. pterophila) (1/20), the threatened San Marcos salamander (E. nana) (1/17), and the endangered Barton Springs salamander (E. sosorum) (1/7); much higher abundance was obtained for the Jollyville Plateau salamander (E. tonkawae) (6/14), which has recently been petitioned for addition to the USA endangered species list. With one exception, sequences of PCR products were identical to the 5.8S rRNA gene, and nearly so for the flanking internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of B. dendrobatidis which confirmed the detection of chytrid fungus, and thus demonstrated the presence of this pathogen in populations of endangered species in Central Texas. These confirmations were obtained from nonconsumptive tail clippings which confirms the applicability of historically collected samples from other studies in the examination of the fungus across time.


Chytrid Fungus, Eurycea, ITS Region, Nested PCR, 5.8S Rrna Gene, Tail Clipping

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EcoHealth, Vol. 6, no. 20 (2009-05-08).