Few studies have examined vertebrate models of invasive species to explore parasite release as a proposed mechanism through which host species might become invasive. In this study, we examined evidence for parasite release in invasive American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana/Lithobates catesbeianus) from five sites in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. We examined helminth species richness, as well as the prevalence, intensity and abundance of lung and kidney fluke infections. These flukes are expected to impose costs on host survival, growth and reproductive output. We compared measures of these parasite taxa with bullfrogs from Ontario and New Brunswick where they are endemic. Helminth species richness in bullfrogs from the Victoria sites was lower than in Ontario bullfrogs, but comparable to reported indices for other endemic populations. The prevalence of lung flukes (Haematoloechus spp.) in bullfrogs from Victoria was twice as high as was observed in the Ontario bullfrogs, and higher than has been reported from other endemic locations. In four of the five study sites in Victoria, numbers of Echinostoma spp. kidney cysts were lower than observed in endemic populations; however, the fifth site had uncharacteristically high numbers of cysts. In this study, there did not appear to be clear evidence to support parasite release using either parasite species numbers, or infection by specific parasite taxa. Instead, the invasive bullfrogs demonstrated high parasite species richness and high levels of infection for parasites known to be harmful to their hosts. Copyright

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022149X12000211
Journal Journal of Helminthology
Citation
Dare, O.K., & Forbes, M. (2013). Do invasive bullfrogs in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, show evidence of parasite release?. Journal of Helminthology, 87(2), 195–202. doi:10.1017/S0022149X12000211