The Effect of Trematode Infection on Amphibian Limb Development and Survivorship

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The causes of amphibian deformities and their role in widespread amphibian declines remain conjectural.Severe limb abnormalities were induced at high frequencies in Pacific treefrogs (Hyla regilla) exposed to cercariae of a trematode parasite (Ribeiroia sp.). The abnormalities closely matched those observed at field sites, and an increase in parasite density caused an increase in abnormality frequency and a decline in tadpole survivorship. These findings call for further investigation of parasite infection as a cause of amphibian deformities in other sites and species.

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