"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

November 12, 2010

November 12 - Amphibiocystidium ranae

Today we are featuring a fungal parasite of frogs. This parasite is former known as Dermocystidium ranae and was classified within a genus which also included a number of fungal parasites of fishes. However, further research on D. ranae found that it has a number of life-cycle and morphological features which separate this parasite from others within the Dermocystidium genus. Because of those distinguishing characteristics, it has now been reclassified and placed in a genus of its own - Amphibiocystidium - to reflect its unique status. While the parasite in the fish-infecting sister genus, Dermocystidium, has recieved much scientific interest over the last 50 or so years, far less research has been conducted on Amphibiocystidium ranae and it is not clear if it cause any actual harm to its amphibian host or if it is more of a benign parasite.

Pascolini, R., Daszak, P., Cunningham, A.A., Tei, S., Vagnetti, D., Bucci, S., Fagotti, A. and Di Rosa, I. (2003) Parasitism by Dermocystidium ranae in a population of Rana esculenta complex in Central Italy and descriptiion of Amphibiocystidium n. gen. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 56: 65-74

Contributed by Tommy Leung.

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