Widespread presence of the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in wild amphibian communities in Madagascar
Amphibian chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been a significant driver of amphibian declines. While globally widespread, Bd had not yet been reported from within Madagascar. We document surveys conducted across the country between 2005 and 2014, showing Bd's first record in 2010. Subsequently, Bd was detected in multiple areas, with prevalence reaching up to 100%. Detection of Bd appears to be associated with mid to high elevation sites and to have a seasonal pattern, with greater detectability during the dry season. Lineage-based PCR was performed on a subset of samples. While some did not amplify with any lineage probe, when a positive signal was observed, samples were most similar to the Global Panzootic Lineage (BdGPL). These results may suggest that Bd arrived recently, but do not exclude the existence of a previously undetected endemic Bd genotype. Representatives of all native anuran families have tested Bd-positive, and exposure trials confirm infection by Bd is possible. Bd's presence could pose significant threats to Madagascar's unique ``megadiverse'' amphibians.