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Parasitology. 2007 Dec;134(Pt.14):2063-80. Epub 2007 Aug 3.

Impacts of agriculture on the parasite communities of northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) in southern Quebec, Canada.

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Department of Biology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1M8.


Given that numerous amphibians are suffering population declines, it is becoming increasingly important to examine the relationship between disease and environmental disturbance. Indeed, while many studies relate anthropogenic activity to changes in the parasitism of snails and fishes, little is known of the impact on the parasites of amphibians, particularly from agriculture. For 2 years, the parasite communities of metamorphic northern leopard frogs from 7 agricultural wetlands were compared with those from 2 reference wetlands to study differences in parasite community diversity and abundance of various species under pristine conditions and 3 categories of disturbance: only agricultural landscape, only pesticides, and agricultural landscape with pesticides. Agricultural (and urban) area was negatively related to species richness, and associated with the near absence of adult parasites and species that infect birds or mammals. We suggest that agriculture and urbanization may hinder parasite transmission to frogs by limiting access of other vertebrate hosts of their parasites to wetlands. The only parasite found at all localities was an unidentified echinostome infecting the kidneys. This parasite dominated communities in localities surrounded by the most agricultural land, suggesting generalist parasites may persist in disrupted habitats. Community composition was associated with dissolved organic carbon and conductivity, but few links were found with pesticides. Pollution effects may be masked by a strong impact of land use on parasite transmission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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