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Effects of Larval History and Lungworm Infection on the Growth and Survival of Juvenile Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica)

Cameron P. Goater and Rena E. Vandenbos
Herpetologica
Vol. 53, No. 3 (Sep., 1997), pp. 331-338
Published by: Allen Press on behalf of the Herpetologists' League
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3893342
Page Count: 8
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Effects of Larval History and Lungworm Infection on the Growth and Survival of Juvenile Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica)
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Abstract

We raised wood frogs, Rana sylvatica, from eggs in replicated outdoor ponds at three densities (four, eight, and 16 tadpoles/250 l) to produce tadpoles that differed in size at metamorphosis. Individuals were then reared in containers in the laboratory to determine if the size-advantage produced during the larval stage carried-over to the time of first hibernation. We also infected metamorphs with a parasitic lungworm, Rhabdias ranae, to determine its direct and interactive effect on host growth and survival. Tadpoles from low-density ponds were, on average, 40.7% (0.51 g) heavier at metamorphosis than those from high-density ponds. Juvenile frogs that were heaviest at metamorphosis were also 14.7% (0.53 g) heavier at the time of their first hibernation. Growth rate estimates for juveniles originating from low- and high-density ponds were identical, showing that the advantage in size at hibernation was due to differences in mass at metamorphosis, not differences in growth rate. We detected no effect of lungworm infection on growth or survival, probably because worm numbers in the lungs were low and because worms were rapidly lost from hosts after a single exposure to parasite larvae. The degree to which an individual's performance during one stage is linked to performance during a subsequent stage may be an important life-history characteristic for a species with a complex life cycle, particularly one in which overwinter survival and reproductive success are size- or condition-dependent.

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