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Pathological and Phylogenetic characterisation of Amphibiothecum sp. infection in an isolated amphibian (Lissotriton helveticus) population on the island of Rum (Scotland)

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-496
Number of pages13
JournalParasitology
Volume144
Issue number4
Early online date22 Nov 2016
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2017

Abstract

Outbreaks of cutaneous infectious disease in amphibians are increasingly being attributed to an overlooked group of fungal-like pathogens, the Dermocystids. During the last 10 years on the Isle of Rum, Scotland, palmate newts (Lissotriton helveticus) have been reportedly afflicted by unusual skin lesions. Here we present pathological and molecular findings confirming that the pathogen associated with these lesions is a novel organism of the order Dermocystida, and represents the first formally reported, and potentially lethal, case of amphibian Dermocystid infection in the UK. Whilst the gross pathology and the parasite cyst morphology were synonymous to those described in a study from infected L. helveticus in France, we observed a more extreme clinical outcome on Rum involving severe subcutaneous oedema. Phylogenetic topologies supported synonymy between Dermocystid sequences from Rum and France and as well their distinction from Amphibiocystidium spp. Phylogenetic analysis also suggested that the amphibian-infecting Dermocystids are not monophyletic. We conclude that the L. helveticus-infecting pathogen represents a single, novel species; Amphibiothecum meredithae.

    Research areas

  • Amphibiocystidium, Dermocystidium, Amphibiothecum, Pathology, Phylogenetics

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