Abstract:

The amphibian genus Leptodactylus includes around 50 species, of which only 2 are distributed in Mexico; the helminth fauna of these 2 species is poorly known. As part of a research program on amphibian parasites in Mexico from 1997 to 2005, 281 sabinal frogs Leptodactylus melanonotus from 42 localities in 11 Mexican states were examined from a helminthological perspective. A total of 20 taxa of helminths—7 digeneans (5 adults, 2 larvae) and 13 nematodes (8 adults, 5 larvae)—was found to infect this amphibian host species. These data represent 105 new locality records, and 11 taxa are recorded in L. melanonotus for the first time. Infracommunity analyses of the sabinal frogs from Tres Palos indicated that these hosts are depauperate. The helminth community is dominated by specialist species, with Cosmocerca podicipinus the most common in almost 50% of the infracommunities. Percutaneous infection and predator-prey interactions were the 2 most common infection routes by helminths in frogs from Tres Palos, with 79% of the parasites recruited via skin penetration. Finally, our results show that the helminth fauna parasitizing L. melanonotus throughout Mexico has low similarity with the helminth fauna of leptodactylids studied comprehensively in South America, with only 2 digeneans and 3 nematodes being shared by hosts from both regions. As a result of our survey, the number of helminth species parasitizing L. melanonotus increased to 34. Considering its native distribution range, this number is now 36 with the inclusion of the nematodes Oswaldocruzia costaricensis and Cruzia empera in Costa Rica.

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