Quantifying anuran microhabitat use to infer the potential for parasite transmission between invasive cane toads and two species of australian native frogs

Lígia Pizzatto*, Camila Both, Richard Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Parasites that are carried by invasive species can infect native taxa, with devastating consequences. In Australia, invading cane toads (Rhinella marina) carry lungworm parasites (Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala) that (based on previous laboratory studies) can infect native treefrogs (Litoria caerulea and L. splendida). To assess the potential of parasite transmission from the invader to the native species (and from one infected native frog to another), we used surveys and radiotelemetry to quantify anuran microhabitat use, and proximity to other anurans, in two sites in tropical Australia. Unsurprisingly, treefrogs spent much of their time off the ground (especially by day, and in undisturbed forests) but terrestrial activity was common at night (especially in anthropogenically modified habitats). Microhabitat overlap between cane toads and frogs was generally low, except at night in disturbed areas, whereas overlap between the two frog species was high. The situations of highest overlap, and hence with the greatest danger of parasite transmission, involve aggregations of frogs within crevices by day, and use of open ground by all three anuran species at night. Overall, microhabitat divergence between toads and frogs should reduce, but not eliminate, the transmission of lungworms from invasive toads to vulnerable native frogs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere106996
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2014. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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