Presence of the Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Populations of the Critically Endangered Frog Mannophryne olmonae in Tobago, West Indies

Alemu I, Jahson; Cazabon, Michelle; Dempewolf, Lena; Hailey, Adrian; Lehtinen, Richard; Mannette, Ryan; Naranjit, Kerrie; Roach, Alicia
March 2008
EcoHealth;Mar2008, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p34
Academic Journal
The emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis is prevalent in Central and South America, and has caused catastrophic declines of amphibian populations in the Neotropics. The responsible organism, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has been recorded on three West Indian islands, but the whole of the Caribbean region is predicted to offer a suitable environment for the disease. Monitoring the spread of chytridiomycosis is thus a priority in this region, which has exceptionally high levels of amphibian endemism. PCR analysis of 124 amphibian skin swabs in Tobago (Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) demonstrated the presence of B. dendrobatidis in three widely separated populations of the frog Mannophryne olmonae, which is listed as Critically Endangered on the basis of recent population declines. Chytridiomycosis is presently endemic in this species, with a prevalence of about 20% and no associated clinical disease. Increased susceptibility to chytridiomycosis from climate change is unlikely in amphibian populations in Tobago, as this island does not have high montane environments, but remains a possibility in the sister island of Trinidad. Preventing the spread of chytridiomycosis within and between these and other Caribbean islands should be a major goal of practical conservation measures for amphibians in the region.


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