Infections are particularly risky in lizards that are bred in captivity for release into the wild, as they can spread into the wild population. The cause of these diseases has been unclear but now researchers in Belgium have discovered a new bacterium responsible for dermatitis in desert lizards.
According to research published in the September issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, the discovery could help control the disease and protect endangered species.
Desert-dwelling lizards belonging to the genera Agama and Uromastyx that live in the arid and desert areas of North Africa are now bred in captivity in Europe. "The establishment of healthy captive populations is an important tool for the conservation of threatened species," said Professor An Martel from Ghent University, Belgium. "On the other hand, restocking of wild populations with captive bred animals carrying pathogens might compromise the survival of these wild populations. Skin diseases are highly prevalent in captive lizards."
Dermatitis is the most important known bacterial disease of desert lizards that prevents successful captive populations from being established. One example is the captive breeding programme of the rare Oman dab lizard (Uromastyx thomasi) a joint project between Germany and Oman, to which pathogens like this may pose a real threat.
"We isolated bacteria from five different desert lizards suffering from dermatitis, two agama lizards (Agama impalearis) and three spiny-tailed lizards (Uromastyx geyri and U. acanthinura)," said Professor Martel. "We could not identify the bacterium that was causing the disease, but the pathogen was the same in all five lizards."
The researchers looked at the genetic sequence of the bacterium and discovered it represents a new taxon and species. They have named the bacterium Devriesea agamarum (Devriesea referring to the veterinary microbiologist L.A. Devriese and agamarum after Agama, an Old World reptile). "We have demonstrated a causal relationship between this bacterium and skin lesions in desert-dwelling lizards," said Professor Martel. "This microbe is also related to bacteria that cause skin infections in humans."
The cases of dermatitis and septicaemia from which the new bacterium Devriesea agamarum was isolated are highly prevalent, especially in captive lizards. The researchers hope the identification of this species will contribute to our understanding of lizard skin disease and help develop control measures. "In the future we would like to study host-pathogen interactions, design treatments and investigate the use of a vaccination to prevent the development of disease caused by Devriesea agamarum," said Professor Martel.
New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs
18.04.2019 | University of Hawaii at Manoa
New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection
18.04.2019 | Polytechnique Montréal
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.
Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...
The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...
Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.
Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...
Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna
A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
09.04.2019 | Event News
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences
18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences