Batrachochytrium dendro­batidis and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans surveillance in salamanders of southeastern Virginia, USA


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June 2017

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The United States (US) has the highest diversity of salamanders in the world, and many of these are endemic to only the southeastern states making the US the global hotspot for salamander biodiversity. For this reason, managing disease threats to US salamanders is a high priority. Chytridiomycosis is a disease caused by the pathogenic chytrid fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal). Bd is an emerging infectious disease that has had a devastating impact on amphibian populations across Central America, Europe, North America, and Australia. All amphibian orders (Anura, Urodela, Gymnophiona) have experienced disease symptoms and population declines from (Bd). Bsal is newly discovered and initial experimental challenges have reported affects on some urodeles. While Bd has been present in the US for many years, Bsal has only been found to cause clinical disease in wild salamanders in Europe to date, however Bsal surveillance of wild amphibian populations has been limited elsewhere. Bsal is significantly affecting both captive and free ranging fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) populations in northern Europe. Bsal appears to have originated in Asia where it likely has remained in coexistence with salamander hosts for millions of years; spread to Europe was likely human-mediated through international trade. Herein we report the results of combined Bd and Bsal surveillance of native, wild salamanders in southeastern Virginia, US.

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