Experimental transmission of frog virus 3–like ranavirus in juvenile chelonians at two temperatures

Matthew C. Allender, Ashley C. Barthel, Jeremy M. Rayl, Karen A. Terio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pathogenicity of frog virus 3 (FV3)–like ranavirus varies in adult chelonian species at different environmental temperatures, but differences in pathogenicity at different temperatures has yet to be determined in juveniles. Our objective was to determine the susceptibility to FV3-like ranavirus in four species of juvenile chelonians: red-eared sliders (RES; Trachemys scripta elegans), Mississippi map turtles (Graptemys pseudogeographica kohnii), false map turtles (FMT; Graptemys pseudogeographica), and eastern river cooters (Pseudemys concinna concinna) at two environmental temperatures. Two simultaneous trials (n¼8 treatment and n¼4 controls of each species) were conducted in separate temperature-controlled rooms with animals maintained at 22 C or 27 C. All of the inoculated animals of each species at each temperature died, but no mortality was observed in control animals. Median survival times varied between 8 d and 11 d, based on species and temperature, with RES in the 27 C trial surviving the shortest time and the FMT in the 22 C trial surviving the longest. Combining all species, turtles in the 27 C trial survived for fewer days than those housed at 22 C, despite all turtles in both trials having similar viral copies detected in postmortem tissues. Lesions in inoculated turtles resembled those noted in natural and experimental FV3-like ranavirus infections and included vasculitis, thrombosis, hemorrhage in multiple organs, renal tubular necrosis, and hepatic necrosis. Myositis was not present in any juvenile, infected turtles in this study. This study confirmed that juvenile chelonians have a high susceptibility to ranaviral disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-725
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of wildlife diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Aquatic
  • Chelonian
  • FV3-like ranavirus
  • Iridovirus
  • Terrapin
  • Turtle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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