Chytridiomycosis Outbreak in a Chilean Giant Frog (Calyptocephalella gayi) Captive Breeding Program: Genomic Characterization and Pathological Findings

Mario Alvarado-Rybak, Paz Acuña, Alexandra Peñafiel-Ricaurte, Thomas R. Sewell, Simon J. O'Hanlon, Matthew C. Fisher, Andres Valenzuela-Sánchez, Andrew A. Cunningham, Claudio Azat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Emerging infectious diseases in wildlife are increasingly associated with animal mortality and species declines, but their source and genetic characterization often remains elusive. Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been associated with catastrophic and well-documented amphibian population declines and extinctions at the global scale. We used histology and whole-genome sequencing to describe the lesions caused by, and the genetic variability of, two Bd isolates obtained from a mass mortality event in a captive population of the threatened Chilean giant frog (Calyptocephalella gayi). This was the first time an association between Bd and high mortality had been detected in this charismatic and declining frog species. Pathological examinations revealed that 30 dead metamorphosed frogs presented agnathia or brachygnathia, a condition that is reported for the first time in association with chytridiomycosis. Phylogenomic analyses revealed that Bd isolates (PA1 and PA2) from captive C. gayi group with other Bd isolates (AVS2, AVS4, and AVS7) forming a single highly supported Chilean Bd clade within the global panzootic lineage of Bd (BdGPL). These findings are important to inform the strengthening of biosecurity measures to prevent the impacts of chytridiomycosis in captive breeding programs elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish
Article number733357
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2021


  • agnathia
  • amphibians
  • Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis
  • BdGPL
  • brachygnathia
  • Chile
  • emerging infectious disease
  • whole-genome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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