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Transcending marine turtles: first report of hatching failure in eggs of Amazonian freshwater turtles with symptoms of the fungal emerging disease fusariosis
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  • Ana Sofía Carranco,
  • Mark A.F. Gillingham,
  • Kerstin Wilhelm,
  • María de Lourdes Torres,
  • Simone Sommer,
  • David Romo
Ana Sofía Carranco
Universitat Ulm

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Mark A.F. Gillingham
Universitat Ulm
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Kerstin Wilhelm
Universitat Ulm
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María de Lourdes Torres
Universidad San Francisco de Quito
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Simone Sommer
Universitat Ulm
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David Romo
Universidad San Francisco de Quito
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In the last decades fungal pathogens are causing devastating population declines across a broad range of taxa. A newly emerging fungal disease, sea turtle egg fusariosis, caused by members of the Fusarium solani species complex (FSSC), has been reported to be responsible for hatching failure in sea turtles around the world. However, this has not been reported in other non-marine turtle species. Herein we report high hatching failure from eggs symptomatic of fusariosis in the yellow-spotted Amazon river turtle ( Podocnemis unifilis), inhabiting a pristine environment in the Ecuadorian Amazon. We assessed hatching success from eggs symptomatic and asymptomatic of fusariosis ( n = 680 eggs), tested for Fusarium infection by PCR amplifying the TEF-1α gene (n= 68 turtle internal egg swab samples) and sequenced eight amplicons for screening of FSSC membership on an Illumina Miseq. Hatchability was 72% for asymptomatic eggs, whilst only 8% of symptomatic eggs hatched. Eight percent of asymptomatic and 58% of symptomatic eggs tested positive for Fusarium spp. and sequencing revealed that nine sequence variants from three asymptomatic and four symptomatic eggs corresponded to F. keratoplasticum, F. solani and F. falciforme, the three major FSSC pathogens already reported in sea turtle egg fusariosis. Our study therefore suggests that observed hatching failure of eggs showing symptoms of fusariosis is at least partially caused by Fusarium pathogens within FSSC in a freshwater turtle. This report highlights that fusariosis is more widespread among the Testudines order than previously reported and is not limited to sea environments, which is of particular conservation concern.
20 Oct 2021Submitted to Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
20 Oct 2021Submission Checks Completed
20 Oct 2021Assigned to Editor
03 Nov 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
06 Dec 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
06 Dec 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
25 Mar 20221st Revision Received
25 Mar 2022Assigned to Editor
25 Mar 2022Submission Checks Completed
29 Mar 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
22 Apr 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
22 Apr 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
10 May 20222nd Revision Received
10 May 2022Assigned to Editor
10 May 2022Submission Checks Completed
10 May 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 May 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
24 May 2022Published in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. 10.1111/tbed.14596