Rhinosporidiosis in African reed frogs Hyperolius spp. caused by a new species of Rhinosporidium

Dis Aquat Organ. 2015 Jul 23;115(2):111-20. doi: 10.3354/dao02888.


We report the identification of a new Rhinosporidium species (Dermocystida, Mesomycetozoea) infecting amphibian hosts, while showing a species specificity for African reed frogs of the genus Hyperolius. Large dermal cysts (sporangia) of R. rwandae sp. nov. were observed in 18% of H. lateralis and similar cysts in 0.7% of H. viridiflavus surveyed. Fully developed R. rwandae cysts are about 500 to 600 µm in diameter and sealed from the frog tissue by a thick chitinous wall. Some cysts were filled with numerous round-oval basophilic microspores of 8 to 12 µm diameter. With the exception of legs, nodules were visible over the complete torso surface including the vocal sac of males, but the most affected skin region was the area around the cloaca. Behavior, condition, and lifespan of infected frogs do not seem to be distinct from that of healthy individuals. The mode of infection remains unknown, but we hypothesize that the infectious life stage reaches the dermis via the intraepidermal ducts of the skin glands. Molecular evidence places the new frog pathogen as a sister species of the human pathogen R. seeberi.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anura / genetics*
  • Male
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Fungal / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / genetics
  • Rhinosporidiosis / metabolism
  • Rhinosporidiosis / veterinary*
  • Rhinosporidium / classification*
  • Species Specificity


  • RNA, Fungal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S