The hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) has suffered a significant population decline and investigations into the cause are ongoing. One possible contributing factor is infection with the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) as has been documented in many amphibian species. The goal of this study was to compare testing protocols and identify significant variables for Bd testing for this species. The results indicate that swabbing the soles of the feet is the most reliable method for identifying the fungus in hellbenders. Presence of Bd in hellbenders was not influenced by time (consistent over 6 months) or temperature (consistent at 12°C [53°F] and 21°C [70°F]).
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