Gould J., Valdez J. W., Stockwell M. P., Clulow S., Mahony M. J.

Mosquitoes as a potential vector for the transmission of the amphibian chytrid fungus

Abstract The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is an infectious disease responsible for the worldwide decline of amphibian species. To mitigate these declines, it is necessary to identify the various vectors by which the fungus can be transmitted between individuals and populations. The objective of this study was to determine whether adult female mosquitoes can carry and transfer Bd fungal cells. Mosquitoes were exposed to netting soaked in a live Bd zoospore suspension to determine whether they are able to externally acquire the fungus. Another group was placed into containers with a sterile and Bd-inoculated agar plate to determine whether mosquitoes could transfer Bd between these surfaces. Bd DNA was found to be present on mosquito legs exposed to inoculated netting and agar plates suggesting that Bd can be transmitted by the mosquito over short distances. This is the first study to demonstrate that an insect host may be a mechanical vector of Bd and suggests that we should begin to consider the role of mosquitoes in the dissemination and control of the fungus.

Doi https://doi.org/10.35513/21658005.2019.1.5

Keywords Batrachochytrium dendro­batidis; Chytridiomycosis; amphibian pathogen; amphibian disease; Culex quinquefasciatus; vector-borne disease

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