Chamaeleomyces granulomatis – new aggressive fungal pathogen of reptiles

The outbreak of disseminated granulchameleonomatous disease occurred in the group of Veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) in the zoo’s collection. The adult females and six pups developed large granulomas in many internal organs. Animals were euthanized. At autopsy the liver and other organs were found spherical yellow-white nodules 1 – 3 mm in diameter.

Histopathology revealed fungal elements, spherical or egg-shaped, thin fragments or asymmetrically swollen hyphae and single conidia formed on phialides. Fungal isolates on the basis of morphological characteristics were originally assigned to the species Paecilomyces viridis, known only to a fatal outbreak of in carpet chameleons (Furcifer lateralis). However, these phylogenetic analyzes of nuclear ribosomal rRNA showed that the fungus is undescribed anamorph belonging to the family Clavicipitaceae, which includes many types of fungi pathogenic to insects.

Fungus was given the species name Chamaeleomyces granulomatis gen. et sp. nov. Apparently, fungi Chamaeleomyces are rare but aggressive pathogens of chameleons.

Authors: Lynne Sigler, Connie Fe C. Gibas, Branko Kokotovic, Mads F. Bertelsen
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