For several decades, green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) have been undergoing rapid range expansion northward and eastward in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. While range expansion of green treefrogs in these states may be linked to climate change, a recent study suggested this expansion could be facilitated by parasites, given that expanded range populations of green treefrogs from Kentucky and Indiana exhibited significant decreases in helminth species diversity compared to those examined from historical locations of Kentucky. Because rapid range expansion may lead to hosts escaping their parasites (= parasite release), a reprieve from parasitic infection could allocate additional resources to growth and reproduction and thus facilitate the expansion. The present study compares patterns of helminth diversity for green treefrogs from historical and 2 types (early and late expansion) of expanded range locations of southern Illinois to test whether these range-expansion populations are also experiencing a reduction in parasitism due to parasite release. The results of this study did not find significant differences in helminth diversity when helminth communities of green treefrogs from their historical and expanded ranges were compared. These results appear to downplay the putative role of parasite release in the northward range expansion of H. cinerea in Illinois. Studies are underway to determine whether local factors, including abiotic conditions and amphibian host diversity, play a more prominent role in influencing helminth diversity of green treefrogs.

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