Helminth community structure and diet of three Afrotropical anuran species: a test of the interactive-versus-isolationist parasite communities hypothesis
1Department of Applied and Environmental Biology, Rivers State University of Science & Technology, P.M.B. 5080, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
2Institute of Environmental Studies Demetra, Via Olona 7, 00198, Rome, Italy
3Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, Rivers State University of Science & Technology, P.M.B. 5080, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Abstract. The interactive-versus-isolationist hypothesis predicts that parasite communities should be depauperated and weakly structured by interspecific competition in amphibians. A parasitological survey was carried out to test this hypothesis using three anuran species from Nigeria, tropical Africa (one Bufonidae; two Ranidae). High values of parasite infection parameters were found in all three species, which were infected by nematodes, cestodes and trematodes. Nonetheless, the parasite communities of the three anurans were very depauperated in terms of number of species (4 to 6). Interspecific competition was irrelevant in all species, as revealed by null models and Monte Carlo permutations. Cluster analyses revealed that, in terms of parasite community composition, the two Ranidae were similar, whereas the Bufonidae was more different. However, when prevalence, intensity, and abundance of parasites are combined into a multivariate analysis, each anuran species was clearly spaced apart from the others, thus revealing considerable species-specific differences in terms of their parasite communities. All anurans were generalists and probably opportunistic in terms of dietary habits, and showed no evidence of interspecific competition for food. Overall, our data are widely consistent with expectations driven from the interactive-versus-isolationist parasite communities hypothesis.
Akani, G. C., Luiselli, L., Amuzie, C. C., and Wokem, G. N.: Helminth community structure and diet of three Afrotropical anuran species: a test of the interactive-versus-isolationist parasite communities hypothesis, Web Ecol., 11, 11-19, doi:10.5194/we-11-11-2011, 2011.