Ambient UVA B Radiation and Prevalence of Infection by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Two Amphi

Chytridiomycosis, the emerging disease caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is responsible for declines and extirpations of amphibian populations worldwide. Environmental covariates modify the host-Bd interaction and thus affect the ongoing spread of the pathogen. One such covariate may be the intensity of ultraviolet B (UV-B) radiation. In a field experiment conducted in Laguna Grande de Peñalara (central Spain), a mountainous region where the presence of Bd has been documented since 1997, we analyzed the potential effect of environmental UV-B (daily maximum 2.5–3.9 W/m2) on the susceptibility of larvae of the common toad (Bufo bufo) to Bd. The proportion of infected individuals increased as tadpoles developed. The prevalence of Bd was significantly lower in tadpoles exposed to environmental UV-B intensities (2.94%) than in tadpoles not exposed to the radiation (9.72%). This finding mirrors that seen for a second amphibian species, the European midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans), for which conditional prevalence (i.e., prevalence of infection conditioned on the probability of a site being infected) across the Iberian Peninsula was inversely correlated with the intensity of UV-B. Leer más.