The Peruvian Andes are the home of 27 species of frogs of the genus Telmatobius, many of which are critically endangered. Illegal trade of adult frogs for purported medical properties likely represents the major threat facing these species. This activity, besides reducing their populations, may contribute to the dissemination of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes chytridiomycosis, a disease posing a threat to many populations of amphibians. We screened frogs confiscated by the Administration of Forestry and Wildlife in Lima, Peru, for Bd. We used real-time PCR to diagnose Bd at the Laboratory of Wildlife, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootecnics, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, in Lima and Pisces Molecular Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, US. Of 62 samples collected during this study, 60% (37) were PCR positive for Bd, confirming that illegal trade of amphibians can pose a risk for disseminating Bd.
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Vol. 52 • No. 4