Behaviour of Australian rainforest stream frogs may affect the transmission of chytridiomycosis

Rowley, Jodi J.L., and Alford, Ross A. (2007) Behaviour of Australian rainforest stream frogs may affect the transmission of chytridiomycosis. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 77 (1). pp. 1-9.

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Abstract

The amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has been implicated in mass mortalities, population declines and extinctions of amphibians around the world. In almost all cases, amphibian species that have disappeared or declined due to chytridiomycosis coexist with non-declining species. One reason why some species decline from chytridiomycosis and others do not may be interspecific differences in behaviour. Host behaviour could either facilitate or hinder pathogen transmission, and transmission rates in the field are likely to vary among species according the frequency of factors such as physical contact between frogs, contact with infected water and contact with environmental substrates containing B. dendrobatidis. We tracked 117 frogs (28 Litoria nannotis, 27 L. genimaculata and 62 L. lesueuri) at 5 sites where B. dendrobatidis is endemic in the rainforest of tropical northern Queensland and recorded the frequency of frog-to-frog contact and the frequency of contact with stream water and environmental substrates. Frequency of contact with other frogs and with water were highest in L. nannotis, intermediate in L. genimaculata and lowest in L. lesueueri. Environmental substrate use also differed among species. These species-specific opportunities for disease transmission were correlated with conservation status: L. nannotis is the species most susceptible to chytridiomycosis-related declines and L. lesueuri is the least susceptible. Interspecific variation in transmission probability may, therefore, play a large role in determining why chytridiomycosis drives some populations to extinction and not others.

Item ID: 2607
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; amphibian chytrid fungus; chytridiomycosis; disease transmission; behaviour; frogs
ISSN: 1616-1580
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2009 04:07
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 46
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