Hepatozoon clamatae naturally infects the erythrocytes of green frogs (Rana clamitans), bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana), and northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) in northeastern North America and uses the mosquito Culex territans as a definitive host. In this study, we show that the wood frog, Rana sylvatica, supports merogonic development, but not gamogonic development, of this protozoan parasite, and that the mosquito Culex pipiens serves as an experimental definitive host for sporogonic development. Two wood frogs were each force-fed Cx. territans, containing oocysts of H. clamatae in their Malpighian tubules, which had fed on blood of infected green frogs 30 days previously. Free merozoites were observed in 1 wood frog 35 days after inoculation, but intraerythrocytic gamonts were not observed. Fifteen Cx. pipiens were fed on a mixture of infected frog blood and physiological saline. Thirty days after blood feeding, 2 mosquitoes were infected with oocysts of H. clamatae, whereas the other 13 mosquitoes either were negative for infection or had died. The observed absence of gamogonic development of this parasite in wood frogs are discussed in light of previous records of host specificity of Hepatozoon species for their anuran hosts, and the importance of Cx. pipiens as an additional definitive host for H. clamatae.

You do not currently have access to this content.