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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Chytrid fungus dynamics and infections associated with movement distances in a red-listed amphibian

Karvemo, S.; Wikstrom, G.; Widenfalk, L. A.; Hoglund, J.; Laurila, A.


Amphibians are among the most threatened vertebrate taxa due to anthropogenic habitat change and emerging pathogens. The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) may cause trade-offs between the immune responses and other important functions, such as mobility. The pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae) is red-listed in Sweden, and an earlier study conducted in our study area did not detect the fungus. In this study, 67 Swedish pool frogs were tested for Bd. Of these, 28 adults were provided with external radio transmitters and tracked during the summer and autumn to compare movement among infected and non-infected individuals. Additionally, we tested some individuals for Bd twice during the summer to study intra-seasonal variation in individual infections. Our results suggest that Bd has recently invaded these pool frog populations. During autumn, movement distances of infected pool frogs were shorter compared to uninfected individuals, and summer movements within ponds were reduced by increasing Bd load. We also found that the frogs can clear (or reduce) Bd infection during their active season. The results from this study increase understanding of the implications of Bd infections in an anuran fringe population, as well as in amphibian metapopulations, and can further guide amphibian conservation planning and management.


Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; Chytrid fungus; movements; Pelophylax lessonae; pool frog; radio tracking

Published in

Journal of Zoology
2020, Volume: 311, number: 3, pages: 164-174
Publisher: WILEY

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