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Oecologia

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 161–165 | Cite as

Negative effects of Rhabdias bufonis (Nematoda) on the growth and survival of toads (Bufo bufo)

  • C. P. Goater
  • P. I. Ward
Original Papers

Summary

The growth and survival of juvenile toads, Bufo bufo, infected with a common lung nematode, Rhabdias bufonis, were studied. Toads were raised from tadpoles in the laboratory and infected 2 months after metamorphosis. Individual toads were exposed to doses of 10, 40, 80 or 160 larvae, which enabled examination of the hypothesis that parasite-induced mortality is affected by worm numbers. Growth of infected toads began to diverge from that of uninfected controls at 6 weeks post infection (WPI) and by 12 WPI the most heavily infected toads were approximately half the mass of controls. No controls died throughout the experiment; however, mortality of infected toads was strongly affected by parasite density. A mechanism for mortality is suggested by the significant negative relationship between parasite density and dietary intake. This parasite-induced anorexia was detected at 3 WPI and persisted up to 9 WPI. Patterns of reduced host growth, survival and dietary intake provide experimental evidence of the negative consequences of parasitic infection in a natural parasite-host system which may also be present under natural conditions.

Key words

Parasitism Growth Survival Bufo Rhabdias 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. P. Goater
    • 1
  • P. I. Ward
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoologisches Museum der Universität ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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