Aspects of Herpetofaunal Diseases at Two Natural Areas in Maryland and Virginia



Fuchs, Lauren

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Over the past several decades, amphibians and reptiles have been notably impacted by emerging infectious pathogens. Anuran populations have experienced significant morbidity and mortality events as the result of two pathogens in particular: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidus (Bd), and Frog-Virus 3 (FV-3). Reptiles have also been threatened by infectious pathogens, namely, Ophidiomyces ophidiicola (Oo), which has been attributed to the declines of several snake populations. Here, I present the results of investigations on presence, prevalence and co-occurrence of Bd and FV-3 in anurans, and the occurrence of Oo in snakes in Maryland (at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center; SERC) and Virginia (at Huntley Meadows Park; HMP). Results from these investigations indicated that Bd is present in both Maryland (10.3%) and Virginia (34.3%). However, FV-3 was not detected in either state. In our investigation of Oo in snakes of Maryland and Virginia, we found an overall infection rate of 55.7%. Our results demonstrate that infectious herpetofaunal pathogens are present at both of our study sites, which emphasizes the need for ongoing disease monitoring at local and regional scales, and the administration of enhanced biosecurity protocols at these sites.



Herpetofaunal diseases, Snake fungal disease, Chytridiomycosis, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Ophidiomyces ophidiicola, Ranavirus