Lungworm infection modifies cardiac response to exercise in cane toads

Lígia Pizzatto, R. Shine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Parasites can affect the locomotor performance of their hosts via a range of mechanisms. Cane toads (Rhinella marina) in Australia often contain native-range lung nematodes (Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala), and the parasite reduces endurance (and thus, dispersal rate) of this invasive anuran. The mechanism of impact plausibly involves reduced oxygen supply from infected lungs; if so, we expect to see that exercise will increase heartbeat rates more in infected toads than in uninfected conspecifics. Our data on 103 field-collected toads (53 of which contained lungworms) support this prediction. Exercise induced a greater increase in heartbeat rate in infected toads than in uninfected conspecifics, but no shift in oxygen saturation of the haemoglobin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-155
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Zoology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bufo marinus
  • cardio-respiratory system
  • exercise
  • heart rate
  • locomotion
  • nematode
  • parasite


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