Ophidiomyces ophidiicola (Oo) is one of the most relevant fungal pathogens for snakes. It is the etiological agent of ophidiomycosis, an emerging disease causing dysecdysis, skin abnormalities, crusting cutaneous lesions, and ulcerations. Despite this major tegumentary "tropism", Oo infection can be systemic and it is capable of inducing visceral lesions. Moreover, ophidiomycosis may lead to abnormalities of reproductive physiology, hunting behavior, and thermoregulation, thus increasing the risks of sublethal effects and predation on affected snakes. Oo seems horizontally transmitted and can induce postnatal mortality. This article reviews published data on Oo detection and infection in all snake species in countries around the world and categorizes these data using new classification parameters. The presence of this fungus has been recorded in 11 states (considering the USA as a whole); however, in four states, the mycosis has only been reported in snakes held in captivity. Detection and/or infection of Oo has been ascertained in 62 snake species, divided into nine families. The taxa have been categorized with diagnostic criteria in order to report, for each species, the highest rank of categorization resulting from all cases. Therefore, 20 species have been included within the class "Ophidiomycosis and Oo shedder", 11 within "Ophidiomycosis", 16 in "Apparent ophidiomycosis", and 15 within "Ophidiomyces ophidiicola present". We also discuss the significance and limits of case classifications and Oo's impact on wild populations, and we suggest methods for preliminary surveillance. Standardized methods, interdisciplinary studies, and cooperation between various research institutions may facilitate further Oo screening studies, elucidate the unclear aspects of the disease, and protect ophidiofauna from this emerging threat at the global level.

Ophidiomyces ophidiicola detection and infection: a global review on a potential threat to the world’s snake populations

Coppari, Luca;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Ophidiomyces ophidiicola (Oo) is one of the most relevant fungal pathogens for snakes. It is the etiological agent of ophidiomycosis, an emerging disease causing dysecdysis, skin abnormalities, crusting cutaneous lesions, and ulcerations. Despite this major tegumentary "tropism", Oo infection can be systemic and it is capable of inducing visceral lesions. Moreover, ophidiomycosis may lead to abnormalities of reproductive physiology, hunting behavior, and thermoregulation, thus increasing the risks of sublethal effects and predation on affected snakes. Oo seems horizontally transmitted and can induce postnatal mortality. This article reviews published data on Oo detection and infection in all snake species in countries around the world and categorizes these data using new classification parameters. The presence of this fungus has been recorded in 11 states (considering the USA as a whole); however, in four states, the mycosis has only been reported in snakes held in captivity. Detection and/or infection of Oo has been ascertained in 62 snake species, divided into nine families. The taxa have been categorized with diagnostic criteria in order to report, for each species, the highest rank of categorization resulting from all cases. Therefore, 20 species have been included within the class "Ophidiomycosis and Oo shedder", 11 within "Ophidiomycosis", 16 in "Apparent ophidiomycosis", and 15 within "Ophidiomyces ophidiicola present". We also discuss the significance and limits of case classifications and Oo's impact on wild populations, and we suggest methods for preliminary surveillance. Standardized methods, interdisciplinary studies, and cooperation between various research institutions may facilitate further Oo screening studies, elucidate the unclear aspects of the disease, and protect ophidiofauna from this emerging threat at the global level.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/228659
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