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Mass Mortality in Larval Rana sylvatica Attributable to the Bacterium, Aeromonas hydrophila

Stephen Nyman
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 20, No. 2 (Jun., 1986), pp. 196-201
DOI: 10.2307/1563944
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1563944
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Mass Mortality in Larval Rana sylvatica Attributable to the Bacterium, Aeromonas hydrophila
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Abstract

In 1981 an epidemic among larval amphibians caused by the bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila extirpated the larval population of Rana sylvatica in a Rhode Island vernal-autumnal pond and in enclosures within the same pond. Diseased R. sylvatica exhibited emaciation, petechial hemorrhages, and a loss of normal feeding and escape behaviors. Larval Ambystoma maculatum sharing enclosures with R. sylvatica experienced greater mortality than those in enclosures with no R. sylvatica in both 1981 and 1982. However, survivorship of A. maculatum with R. sylvatica in 1981 was statistically lower than that with R. sylvatica in 1982, a year when no epidemic occurred. A. maculatum larvae which died from the disease were severely edemic and had petechiae. Other species in the pond (larval Hyla versicolor and adult Rana catesbeiana) suffered no observable mortality from the disease although petechiae were noted in both. The epidemic may have contributed to a severe reduction in breeding effort by R. sylvatica in the affected pond three years after the epidemic. Mass mortality due to disease in populations of larval amphibians is sometimes difficult to document and may occur more frequently than previously thought.

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