Chytridiomycosis, caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), has had an unprecedented impact on amphibian biodiversity. Although Bd is globally widespread, Bsal is currently spreading, increasing the probability that these pathogens will co-occur in individual amphibians. Interactions among coinfecting parasites can have significant outcomes on disease dynamics and impact and, therefore, may have important consequences for amphibian conservation. We analyzed the patterns of Bd-Bsal coinfections in two species of free-ranging urodeles during an outbreak of chytridiomycosis in Spain. Our goals were to assess 1) the probability of co-occurrence of both chytrid species and 2) the correlation of pathogen loads in coinfected hosts. We detected coinfections in 81.58% of Triturus marmoratus (n=38) and in 18.75% of Ichthyosaura alpestris (n=16). Histopathologic lesions of chytridiomycosis were observed only in T. marmoratus. Our results demonstrate a positive relationship between Bd and Bsal loads in T. marmoratus, whereas the co-occurrence analysis showed a random association among pathogens in both urodele species. Overall, we show that Bd-Bsal coinfections intensify pathogen load in T. marmoratus and could, therefore, increase disease severity and have important consequences for the conservation of some amphibian species.
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Vol. 58 • No. 3