Transmission is central to pathogen fitness and strongly influences the impact of pathogens on host populations. Particularly important to transmission dynamics is the distinction between direct transmission requiring close physical contact (e.g. bumping, fighting, or coughing) and indirect transmission from environmental sources such as contaminated substrates. We present data from 4 experiments addressing the form, routes, and timing of transmission of Ambystoma tigrinum virus (ATV) among tiger salamanders Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum. Our data suggest that ATV is efficiently transmitted by direct interactions between live animals (bumping, biting and cannibalism) as well as by necrophagy and indirectly via water and fomites. Determining which form of transmission is most important in nature is essential for understanding transmission at the population level. Our experiments also revealed an important temporal aspect of infectiousness: larval salamanders become infectious soon after exposure to ATV and their propensity to infect others increases with time. These results begin to clarify the mechanisms and dynamics of ATV transmission and lead to key questions that need to be addressed in future research.
- Ambystoma tigrinum virus
- Tiger salamander
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science