Photo credit: AJ Cann, https://flic.kr/p/9kHRjw
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If you believe you have found this species anywhere in Pennsylvania, please report your findings to state and federal authorities immediately!
Species at a Glance
The genus Ranavirus is comprised of highly infectious viruses that are found worldwide and are often lethal to aquatic and terrestrial cold-blooded wildlife. They can cause mass-die offs of fish, amphibians (frogs and salamanders), and reptiles (turtles and snakes). While not all species are susceptible, more than 104 species were documented with the virus in 2013.
Clinical signs of the Ranavirus disease include swelling of an animal's legs and body, internal hemorrhaging, redness of the legs and vent, and discoloration of internal organs. White plaque in the mouth, wheezing, and swollen eyes are additional symptoms that might be present in reptiles. Behavior changes may include lethargy, anorexia, and erratic swimming.
Ranaviruses are primarily transmitted by direct contact between a carrier and uninfected individuals. Depending on environmental conditions, the viruses can survive in water for several weeks outside the host, and for shorter periods of time under dry conditions. Drying may also inactivate the viruses, therefore drying of recreational boats, trailers, fishing equipment, and other gear after use is important for preventing their spread.
Information for this species profile comes from the Mid-Atlantic Field Guide to Aquatic Invasive Species (2016).