Techniques for Detecting Chytridiomycosis in Wild Frogs: Comparing Histology with Real-Time Taqman PCR
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Chytridiomycosis is a lethal disease of amphibians associated with mass mortalities and population declines worldwide. An accurate, non-invasive technique for detecting chytridiomycosis is urgently needed to determine the current geographical distribution of the disease, and its prevalence in wild amphibian populations. Herein we evaluate a recently devised, rapid, non-invasive, swab-PCR assay. We sampled 101 wild juvenile Mixophyes iteratus by both a skin swab for use in PCR analysis, and a toe-clip for examination by histological methods. The swab-PCR assay detected chytridiomycosis infection in a minimum of 14.9% of frogs, whereas histology detected infection in no more than 6.9% of frogs. We conclude that the swab-PCR technique is the more reliable means of detecting chytridiomycosis in wild amphibians, and that it precludes the need for toe-clipping as a means of sampling for the presence of the disease in future surveys. Further, we document a significant negative relationship between a juvenile frog's snout-vent length and its likelihood of being infected with the disease.
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY