Monday, 26 September 2016

Side effects of itraconazole on post-metamorphic Alytes obstetricans after a cold stress

A small but important study on limitations of the use of itraconazole.

Itraconazole is the most widely used treatment against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the fungal pathogen causing chytridiomycosis, a proximate cause of amphibian declines. Several side effects of itraconazole treatment, ranging in severity from depigmentation to death have been reported in different amphibian species and life stages, and these side effects were observed at commonly used dosages of itraconazole. However, no studies have investigated side-effects of itraconazole in conjunction with environmental stress. Post-metamorphic midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans) that were treated with itraconazole and subsequently exposed to a cold stress (exposure to 4°C cold water) had higher mortality rates compared to untreated individuals. Moreover, adults of booroolong frogs (Litoria booroolongensis) treated with itraconazole had a higher probability to become infected when subsequently exposed to Bd. Our results suggest that a post-metamorphosis itraconazole treatment of infected midwife toads combined with a subsequent release into the wild may be an ineffective disease mitigation strategy, as the cold stress during hibernation and/or exposure to Bd in the wild may reduce the hibernation emergence rate of treated individuals in this species.

Study accepted in Amphibia Reptilia

The global amphibian trade flows through Europe: the need for enforcing and improving legislation

The global amphibian trade is suspected to have brought several species to the brink of extinction, and has led to the spread of amphibian pathogens. Moreover, international trade is not regulated for *98 % of species. Here we outline patterns and complexity underlying global amphibian trade, highlighting some loopholes that need to be addressed, focusing on the European Union. In spite of being one of the leading amphibian importers, the EU’s current legislation is insufficient to prevent overharvesting of those species in demand or the introduction and/or spread of amphibian pathogens into captive and wild populations. We suggest steps to improve the policy (implementation and enforcement) framework, including (i) an identifier specifically for amphibians in theWorld Customs Organisation’s harmonised system, (ii) Parties to CITES should strive to include more species in the CITES appendices, and (iii) restriction or suspension of trade of threatened species, restricted-range species, and species protected in their country of origin. Commercial trade should not put survival of amphibian species further at risk.