Many animals respond behaviourally to the infective stages of parasites, but the efficacy of such responses in reducing risk of parasitism often is not established. It was found that tadpoles of Rana clamitans Latr., 1801 (green frogs) and R. sylvatica LeConte, 1825 (wood frogs) increased their activity when exposed to live infective stages (cercariae) of the trematode Echinostoma trivolvis Rudolphi, 1809. The susceptibility to parasitism for green frog tadpoles subjected to three different treatments was compared. Tadpoles were housed at 20°C and allowed to respond to cercariae, held at 6-8°C and showing reduced behavioural responses, or anesthetized and showing no responses. Low levels of parasitism were found for tadpoles that responded behaviourally to cercariae; such responses are expected to occur under normal field conditions in the absence of factors suppressing activity of tadpoles. We also demonstrate that infectivity of E. trivolvis cercariae to non-responding (anesthetized) wood frog tadpoles was higher at warm than at cool temperatures. Thus, lowered parasitism at warm temperatures in the first experiment likely resulted from host behavioural responses and not from low infectivity of cercariae. These results have implications for observing effects of environmental factors on susceptibility to parasitism where susceptibility is thought or known to be mediated by host behaviour.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1139/Z06-158
Journal Canadian Journal of Zoology
Citation
Koprivnikar, J. (Janet), Forbes, M, & Baker, R.L. (Robert L.). (2006). On the efficacy of anti-parasite behaviour: A case study of tadpole susceptibility to cercariae of Echinostoma trivolvis. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 84(11), 1623–1629. doi:10.1139/Z06-158