Knowledge of baseline cutaneous bacterial microbiota may be useful in interpreting diagnostic cultures from captive sick frogs and as part of quarantine or pretranslocation disease screening. Bacteria may also be an important part of innate immunity against chytridiomycosis, a fungal skin disease caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). In February 2009, 92 distinct bacterial isolates from the ventral skin of 64 apparently healthy Leiopelma archeyi and Leiopelma hochstetteri native frogs from the Coromandel and Whareorino regions in New Zealand were identified using molecular techniques. The most-common isolates identified in L. archeyi were Pseudomonas spp. and the most common in L. hochstetteri were Flavobacterium spp. To investigate the possible role of bacteria in innate immunity, a New Zealand strain of Bd (Kaikorai Valley-Lewingii-2008-SDS1) was isolated and used in an in vitro challenge assay to test for inhibition by bacteria. One bacterial isolate, a Flavobacterium sp., inhibited growth of Bd. These results imply that diverse cutaneous bacteria are present and may play a role in the innate defense in Leiopelma against pathogens, including Bd, and are a starting point for further investigation.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4