June 2022

Warty toad (Rhinella spinulosa) in amplexus in Altiplano of northern Chile. Warty toads are widely distributed across the Andes highlands of South America, making them a good model to study infection patterns of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) at the regional level. Bd is a pathogenic fungus causing the disease chytriomycosis, responsible for catastrophic amphibian declines and extinctions across the globe, with South America being the most impacted region. In Azat et al., we analyzed patterns of Bd infection across South America, based on ~22,000 molecular diagnostic assays from 522 amphibian species, including frogs, salamanders and caecilians. Higher prevalence of Bd occurred in amphibians living in mountain environments in the Andes and Atlantic forests. The taxa exhibiting highest Bd occur­rence were mostly aquatic amphibians, but families exhibiting unusually low Bd prevalence included species in which lethal chytridiomycosis and population declines have been described (Atelopus, Rhinoderma and Eleutherodactylus). 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.


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