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Extensive occurrence of the amphibian chytrid fungus in the Albertine Rift, a Central African amphibian hotspot

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Recent surveys for the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd) in Africa have documented the infectious disease in frogs and caecilians from forested habitats in multiple areas of Central and East Africa. We tested 166 frogs for the presence of Bd from 45 localities representing a diverse array of habitats and elevations (793–2852 m.a.s.l.) in the Albertine Rift (AR) region of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo during four field seasons from 2008–2011. Fifty-eight of these frogs were positive, for an overall Bd-prevalence of 34.9%. Three genera of frogs (Callixalus, Chrysobatrachus and Nectophryne) are reported to be Bd positive for the first time. Behavioural observations of Bd-positive frogs calling for mates and basking suggest the AR amphibian fauna was not severely affected by chytridiomycosis during the survey. Given the enormous levels of endemism and conservation value of the AR amphibian fauna, additional studies of Bd should focus on the region.
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Keywords: ANURAN; DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO; ENDEMISM; INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2015

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