Lethargic crab disease (LCD) is an emerging infirmity that has been causing extensive mortalities in populations of the mangrove land crab Ucides cordatus (Ocypodidae) along the Atlantic coast of Brazil. Previous studies have indicated that LCD is associated with a dematiaceous fungus, Exophiala cancerae de Hoog et al. In the present study, we sequenced the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of the rDNA region of this black yeast species and developed species-specific PCR primers. Sensitivity tests indicated that the developed protocol is capable of detecting very small amounts of target DNA. Also, the application of the protocol to a variety of other dematiaceous fungi did not generate any false positives. The specific primers provided in the present study represent an important tool for rapidly surveying a large number of crab individuals, as well as environmental samples. Such knowledge will be instrumental in understanding the epidemiological dynamics of LCD.
- Exophiala cancerae
- Lethargic crab disease