Purdue University

Bernal Lab

It's not easy being a male túngara frog

02-15-2016

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Males produce conspicuous mating signals to attract females but in doing so, they often attract eavesdropping predators and parasites. When male túngara frogs call, in addition to mates, they attract frog-biting midges that bite them to obtain a blood meal. We asked, are these midges transmitting parasites to the frogs? To answer this question we investigated prevalence of blood parasites in male and female túngara frogs. Our results revealed that males, but only rarely females, are infected with a blood parasite. Because only male frogs call, this finding suggests that frog-biting midges are involved in the transmission of this parasite. In this study we describe this new species of trypanosomes, named Trypanosoma tungarae after its host. In this study we also present observations that indicate this trypanosomes can be transmitted to females during amplexus. Read more about it on our recently published paper:

Bernal, X.E. & Pinto, C.M. 2016. Sexual differences in prevalence of a new species of trypanosome that infects túngara frogs. International Journal of Parasitology: Wildlife and Parasites (in press)