Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in amphibians predates first known epizootic in Costa Rica

Autoři: Marina E. De León aff001;  Héctor Zumbado-Ulate aff002;  Adrián García-Rodríguez aff003;  Gilbert Alvarado aff003;  Hasan Sulaeman aff006;  Federico Bolaños aff003;  Vance T. Vredenburg aff006
Působiště autorů: Department of Microbiology and Molecular genetics, University of California, Davis, United States of America aff001;  Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States of America aff002;  Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica aff003;  Departamento de Zoología, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico aff004;  Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil aff005;  Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, United States of America aff006;  Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States of America aff007
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article


Emerging infectious diseases are a growing threat to biodiversity worldwide. Outbreaks of the infectious disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), are implicated in the decline and extinction of numerous amphibian species. In Costa Rica, a major decline event occurred in 1987, more than two decades before this pathogen was discovered. The loss of many species in Costa Rica is assumed to be due to Bd-epizootics, but there are few studies that provide data from amphibians in the time leading up to the proposed epizootics. In this study, we provide new data on Bd infection rates of amphibians collected throughout Costa Rica, in the decades prior to the epizootics. We used a quantitative PCR assay to test for Bd presence in 1016 anuran museum specimens collected throughout Costa Rica. The earliest specimen that tested positive for Bd was collected in 1964. Across all time periods, we found an overall infection rate (defined as the proportion of Bd-positive individuals) of 4%. The number of infected individuals remained relatively low across all species tested and the range of Bd-positive specimens was shown to be geographically constrained up until the 1980s; when epizootics are hypothesized to have occurred. After that time, infection rate increased three-fold, and the range of specimens tested positive for Bd increased, with Bd-positive specimens collected across the entire country. Our results suggest that Bd dynamics in Costa Rica are more complicated than previously thought. The discovery of Bd’s presence in the country preceding massive declines leads to a number of different hypotheses: 1) Bd invaded Costa Rica earlier than previously known, and spread more slowly than previously reported; 2) Bd invaded multiple times and faded out; 3) an endemic Bd lineage existed; 4) an earlier Bd lineage evolved into the current Bd lineage or hybridized with an invasive lineage; or 5) an earlier Bd lineage went extinct and a new invasion event occurred causing epizootics. To help visualize areas where future studies should take place, we provide a Bd habitat suitability model trained with local data. Studies that provide information on genetic lineages of Bd are needed to determine the most plausible spatial-temporal, host-pathogen dynamics that could best explain the epizootics resulting in amphibian declines in Costa Rica and throughout Central America.

Klíčová slova:

Amphibians – Costa Rica – Epizootics – Frogs – Fungal pathogens – Museum collections – Pathogens


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