John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

The effects of the amphibian chytrid fungus exposure to American toads in the presence of an insecticide

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Abiotic factors like pesticides may alter the impact of a pathogen on hosts, which could have implications for host‐pathogen interactions and may explain variation in disease outbreaks in nature. In this laboratory experiment, we exposed American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) metamorphs to the amphibian chytrid fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and environmentally relevant concentrations of the insecticide malathion to determine if malathion altered the effects of Bd exposure on growth and survival of toad metamorphs. Bd significantly decreased survival over the 51 d of the experiment, suggesting that Bd could reduce recruitment into the terrestrial life stage when exposure occurs at metamorphosis. Malathion did not impact survival, but a 12 h exposure at metamorphosis significantly reduced terrestrial growth. Toads that were exposed to both Bd and malathion showed a non‐significant trend resulting in the smallest growth compared with other treatments. Our study suggests that Bd may pose a threat to American toads even though population declines have not been observed for this species; additionally, presence of both the insecticide malathion and Bd could reduce terrestrial growth, which could have implications for lifetime fitness and which suggests environmental factors could play a role in pathogen impacts in nature. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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