Indexed on: 12 Apr '05Published on: 12 Apr '05Published in: Diseases of aquatic organisms
Temperature strongly influenced percent mortality and time to death of salamanders exposed to the Ambystoma tigrinum virus (iridovirus) (ATV). Most salamanders survived when exposed at 26 degrees C, whereas all died at 18 degrees C and nearly all died at 10 degrees C. Some asymptomatic salamanders that survived 60 d at 10 or 26 degrees C were found to be carrying virus. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmed the presence of virus in ATV-exposed salamanders but was found to be less sensitive than cell culture in detecting ATV at low concentrations. PCR products were 100% identical to ATV in the major capsid protein sequence. Virus titer was higher in salamanders held at 10 degrees C than at 18 degrees C but little virus, if any, was present in the small number of salamanders that died at 26 degrees C. These results may help explain periodic viral epizootics in field populations of A. tigrinum where water temperatures fluctuate widely.