Since 1999, infections with an incompletely characterized alveolate protozoan variously reported as a Dermocystidium-like organism, a Perkinsus-like agent, and Dermomycoides sp. have been associated with mortality events in tadpoles of ranid frogs from the USA. However, disease or mortality events due to this organism have not been described in post-metamorphic animals. We describe infection with a morphologically similar protozoan presenting itself as a leg mass in a free-ranging adult southern leopard frog Lithobates sphenocephalus. Using histological examination, we found a mass within skeletal muscle; this mass was composed of macrophages with intracytoplasmic, thick-walled, 4 to 6 μm in diameter, spherical basophilic protozoal organisms that exhibited green autofluorescence with epiflorescence illumination. Using transmission electron microscopy, organism cell walls were found to have electron-dense plates that, when viewed by scanning electron microscopy, were reminiscent of the thecal plates of dinoflagellates. Additional morphologic and molecular phylogenetic research is needed to resolve the taxonomic status of this organism
- Dermomycoides sp.