The first assessment of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in amphibian populations in the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area of Guyana

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- Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a fungal pathogen threatening hundreds of amphibian species with extinction across the globe, especially in Latin America. Extensive investigations have revealed the presence of Bd in many South American countries, but there has been a lack of such research conducted in Guyana. We assessed the presence of Bd in the amphibian populations of the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area, in the south-west of the country. We swabbed two hundred and fifty anurans and processed the samples using standard Polymerase Chain Reaction analysis to identify cutaneous presence of Bd, making this the most comprehensive investigation into the existence of Bd in Guyana. All samples were negative for the presence of Bd DNA. Given the presence of Bd in countries neighbouring Guyana, and the severe declines it has caused in amphibian populations, we consider Guyana to be under severe threat. We advocate further surveillance in Guyana to fully determine the presence or absence of Bd, and we emphasise the importance of biosecurity and monitoring in mitigating a potential outbreak of this fungal pathogen.

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... Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was detected in all ecoregions where Bd analyses were available, apart from the Monte and Guianan highlands ( Fig. 1 and Fig. 3). Although Mathie et al. (2018) analysed 247 samples from the Kanuku Mountauns in south-western Guyana, no evidence of Bd infection was found. Similarly, an absence of Bd from an extensive survey in Suriname has been corroborated (Jairam 2020). ...
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Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been recognized as the infectious disease causing the most catastrophic loss of biodiversity known to science, with South America being the most impacted region. We tested whether Bd prevalence is distributed among host taxonomy, ecoregion, conservation status and habitat preference in South America. Here we provide a synthesis on the extent of Bd infection across South America based on 21 648 molecular diagnostic assays, roles of certain species in the epidemiology of Bd and explore its association with the reported amphibian catastrophic declines in the region. We show that Bd is widespread, with a continental prevalence of 23.2%. Its occurrence in the region shows a phylogenetic signal and the probability of infection is determined by ecoregion, preferred habitat and extinction risk hosts' traits. The taxa exhibiting highest Bd occurrence were mostly aquatic amphibians, including Ranidae, Telmatobiidae, Hylodidae, Calyptocephalellidae and Pipidae. Surprisingly, families exhibiting unusually low Bd prevalence included species in which lethal chytridiomycosis and population declines have been described (genera Atelopus, Rhinoderma and Eleutherodactylus). Higher than expected prevalence of Bd occurred mainly in amphibians living in association with mountain environments in the Andes and Atlantic forests, reflecting highly favourable Bd habitats in these areas. Invasive amphibian species (e.g. Lithobates catesbeianus and Xenopus laevis) exhibited high Bd prevalence; thus we suggest using these as sentinels to understand their potential role as reservoirs, vectors or spreaders of Bd that can be subjected to management. Our results guide on the prioritization of conservation actions to prevent further biodiversity loss due to chytridiomycosis in the world's most amphibian diverse region.
... accessed December 2019). In Guyana, 247 anurans were sampled from the Kanuku Mountain Protected Area (Mathie et al. 2018) and 22 caecilians were sampled from the Iwokrama area (Gower et al. 2013) without any positive detection of Bd. In Suriname, samples from a single population of harlequin frogs, Atelopus hoogmoedi, tested negative for the presence of Bd (Luger et al. 2008). ...
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a chytrid fungus infecting amphibians’ cutaneous layer, is responsible for the greatest contemporary loss of amphibian biodiversity. In South America, Suriname is one of the only three countries where B. dendrobatidis infections of anurans (frogs and toads) have not been documented. To further examine this apparent gap in pathogen occurrence, frogs were sampled for B. dendrobatidis spores at eight disparate geographic locations in Suriname, including locations with high and low levels of anthropogenic activities, and near Suriname’s border with Brazil and French Guiana, countries where B. dendrobatidis infections have been documented. None of the 347 frogs sampled, representing 37 species from eight families, tested positive for B. dendrobatidis. Our results provide the baseline data for future comparative testing and one of the last opportunities for a country in South America to proactively plan mitigation measures to protect amphibians from B. dendrobatidis’ presumed eventual incursion into Suriname.
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