Infectious Virus Found In Maryland Amphibians | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Infectious Virus Found In Maryland Amphibians

Play associated audio
The hemmorhaging on the belly of these woodfrog tadpoles is a sign of Ranavirus infection.
Teal Richards-Dimitrie
The hemmorhaging on the belly of these woodfrog tadpoles is a sign of Ranavirus infection.

Scientists are investigating a disease outbreak among salamanders, tadpoles, and turtles in Maryland.

Several years ago, Towson University biologists Scott Farnsworth and Richard Seigel started tracking turtles near the Inter County Connector to see if the reptiles were doing ok after being displaced by the ICC. For a while they were, until they started finding empty shells.

Farnsworth says Ranavirus, a type of highly infectious virus found in amphibians, fish, and some reptiles, had arrived - no one knows how.

"This is a pretty brutal disease it actually affects multiple organs and kills off the tissue," Farnsworth says. "They exhibit a lot of gaping behavior where they try to clear their lungs and draw in air."

Then the tadpoles were hit, as Seigel remembers.

"On Friday, three quarters of the tadpoles were swimming abnormally and had the red hemorrhaging on their belly," Seigel says. "On Monday, there was nothing left."

The State of Maryland sent pathologists, and the USGS took samples as well. If the virus continues to be this lethal year after year, scientists say the slow growing turtles would be put on a path toward local extinction. If not, the populations may recover. At this point, scientist say they don't know where things are headed.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, May 5, 2015

You can celebrate Cinco de Mayo a little late with a chamber concert or see a comedy by a local playwright.

NPR

'Bourbon Empire' Reveals The Smoke And Mirrors Of American Whiskey

A new book suggests that tall tales on craft bourbon labels are the rule rather than the exception. They're just one example of a slew of "carefully cultivated myths" created by the bourbon industry.
NPR

Can Huckabee Overcome The 'New Car Smell' Of Other Candidates?

This isn't Mike Huckabee's first time at the GOP presidential rodeo. He had the advantages of being a novelty upstart underdog in 2008. That's not the case this time around.
NPR

As Emoji Spread Beyond Texts, Many Remain [Confounded Face] [Interrobang]

There's a growing tendency to bring the tiny hieroglyphs off of phones, but not everyone is fluent. New takes on emoji integration suggest misunderstanding may be remedied with universal translation.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.