Dynamics of natural infections of Rhabdias cf. hylae (Nematoda) in Bufo marinus (Amphibia) in Australia

D. P. BARTON a1c1
a1 School of Biological Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia


Infrapopulation dynamics of the nematode Rhabdias cf. hylae within naturally-infected Bufo marinus in north Queensland, Australia, were detailed. Over 80% of 580 toads were infected with Rh. cf. hylae with a mean intensity of 16·1. Distribution of Rh. cf. hylae within the toad population was aggregated, with an increase in the variance-to-mean ratio with increasing toad size. Intensity of infection and length of nematode were both correlated with length of toad in the smaller size classes. Length of nematode was not related to intensity of infection at any time. Mean intensity of infection rose significantly in small toads following initial infection after metamorphosis. Over the same period, average length of nematode did not increase implying constant re-infection of the toads. Larger toads were not reinfected to the same extent, and the number of uninfected toads in the larger size class increased which indicated a natural loss of infections. Changes in parameters of Rh. cf. hylae infection within B. marinus were attributed to seasonal rainfall and its subsequent effect on the behaviour of the toad.

(Received September 29 1997)
(Revised January 9 1998)
(Revised May 2 1998)
(Accepted May 2 1998)

Key Words: Rhabdias cf. hylae; Bufo marinus; infrapopulation dynamics.

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