Parasite Distribution and Specificity in Anuran Host Complexes.
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This study was based on the parasite fauna of three anuran systems. In two of the systems; the spadefoot toads, Scaphiopus bombifrons and S.multiplicatus and the fire and yellow-bellied toads, Bombina bombina and B.variegata, inter-species hybridisation occurs. In the third system an autopolyploid species complex involves the Gray treefrogs, Hyla chrysoscelis and H.versicolor. The status of the Scaphiopus hybrid zone in Arizona was re-assessed by cellulose-acetate gel electrophoresis. Genotypic frequencies were comparable to those previously documented, indicating that a region of 'balanced introgression' may exist. Specimens were collected in areas of host sympatry and the distribution of helminths within hosts of different genetic constitution investigated. From extensive surveys of all three systems, parasite frequency distributions were typically aggregated with no evidence of any change in host genetic predisposition to infection. In addition, the surveys have documented a number of new host and/or parasite locality records for each system. Of particular interest was the discovery of the digenean Clinostomum complanatum in a desert environment, an introduction related to human management of the ecosystem. Particular reference was made to the specificity of the polystomatid monogeneans, Polystoma nearcticum infecting members of the H.chrysoscelis- H.versicolor complex and Neodiplorchis scaphiopodis infecting S.bombifrons and S.multiplicatus. For Polystoma, worms from H.chlysoscelis and H.versicolor could not be separated by morphology, which was supported by preliminary crossinfections. This suggests that P.nearcticum infects both members of this complex. For Neodiplorchis, morphological similarity was confirmed by cross-infections which revealed that N.scaphiopodis can reach sexual maturity and produce fully developed larvae in heterospecific hosts. The neotenic development of P. nearcticum and the initial post-oncomiracidial stages of N.scaphiopodis were documented. Furthermore, certain aspects of transmission dynamics were examined by the experimental infection of H. versicolor tadpoles with P. nearcticum .
AuthorsCrosswaite, Matthew John
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