DAO 112:237-242 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02810

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis exposure effects on foraging efficiencies and body size in anuran tadpoles

Shane M. Hanlon1,3,*, Kyle J. Lynch1, Jake Kerby2, Matthew J. Parris1

1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152, USA
2Department of Biology, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD 57069, USA
3Present address: United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Falls Church, VA 22041, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Chytridiomycosis, the amphibian disease caused by the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is fatal to adults of many species. Bd is largely sublethal to amphibian larvae; however, it is known to reduce larval (i.e. tadpole) growth rates, with possible long-term effects on population dynamics and fitness. We conducted an experiment to test how Bd altered southern leopard frog Lithobates sphenocephalus tadpole mouthpart damage, percentage of food ingested, and subsequent body size. We examined our results using path analyses. We hypothesized that Bd would increase mouthpart damage, causing less food to be ingested, and ultimately reduce body size. In our model, both Bd exposure and increased mouthpart damage significantly reduced food ingested and subsequent body size. However, our study provides evidence against the long-standing hypothesis of mouthpart damage as a pathway for Bd-induced reductions in larval group. Here we provide evidence for reduced foraging efficiency (percentage of food ingested) as a mechanism for Bd-induced reductions in body size. This work highlights the importance of studying the sublethal effects of Bd on larval amphibians.

KEY WORDS: Chytrid fungus · Feeding · Larvae · Life history traits · Path analysis

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Cite this article as: Hanlon SM, Lynch KJ, Kerby J, Parris MJ (2015) Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis exposure effects on foraging efficiencies and body size in anuran tadpoles. Dis Aquat Org 112:237-242. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02810

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