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Parasite Toads Are Higher in the Tropics: Temperate to Tropical Variation in a Single Host-Parasite System

Daniel J. Salkeld, Mandar Trivedi and Lin Schwarzkopf
Ecography
Vol. 31, No. 4 (Aug., 2008), pp. 538-544
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30244607
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Parasite Toads Are Higher in the Tropics: Temperate to Tropical Variation in a Single Host-Parasite System
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Abstract

Parasites are important selective forces upon the evolutionary ecology of their hosts. At least one hypothesis suggests that high species diversity in the tropics is associated with higher parasite abundance in tropical climates. Few studies, however, have directly assessed whether parasite abundance is higher in the tropics. To address this question, it is ideal, although seldom achievable, to compare parasite abundance in a single species that occurs over a geographical area including both temperate and tropical regions. We examined variation in blood parasite abundance in seven populations of a single lizard host species (Eulamprus quoyit) using a transect that spans temperate and tropical climates. Parasite prevalence (proportion of the host population infected) showed no geographical pattern. Interestingly though, parasite load was higher in lizard populations in the tropics, and was related to mean annual temperature, but not to rainfall. We speculate that in this system the relationship between latitude and parasite load is most likely due to variation in host life history over their geographic range.

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