Parasite loss and introduced species: a comparison of the parasites of the Puerto Rican tree frog, (Eleutherodactylus coqui), in its native and introduced ranges
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The Puerto Rican frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui has invaded Hawaii and reached densities far exceeding those in their native range. One possible explanation for the success of E. coqui in its introduced range is that it lost its co-evolved parasites in the process of the invasion. We compared the parasites of E. coqui in its native versus introduced range. We collected parasite data on 160 individual coqui frogs collected during January-April 2006 from eight populations in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Puerto Rican coqui frogs had higher species richness of parasites than Hawaiian coqui frogs. Parasite prevalence and intensity were significantly higher in Hawaii, however this was likely a product of the life history of the dominant parasite and its minimal harm to the host. This suggests that the scarcity of parasites may be a factor contributing to the success of Eleutherodactylus coqui in Hawaii.