ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS INFLUENCING TREMATODE PREVALENCE IN GREY TREE FROG (HYLA VERSICOLOR) TADPOLES IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
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The emergence or increased prevalence of various parasites may be linked to alterations in host-parasite interactions caused by environmental changes. We investigated prevalence of trematode infections in grey tree frog (Hyla versicolor) tadpoles from ponds in nonagricultural settings versus ponds adjacent to cornfields in southern Ontario. We found that agricultural activity was a significant factor in determining the percentage of tadpoles infected by 1 or more trematodes from 1 or more species (combined trematode infection). However, we found no associations between combined trematode infection and forest cover; pond size; road density; and measures of water quality, such as nitrate level and the presence of the herbicide atrazine. Although combined trematode prevalence was associated only with agricultural activity, prevalence of Alaria species showed a positive association with forest cover. This latter result probably reflects the importance of habitat suitability for the canid definitive hosts of this trematode species.
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