Special Issue "Diversity and Ecological Impact of Parasites on Amphibians and Reptiles"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Biodiversity Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Sinsch
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Integrated Sciences; Department of Biology, University of Koblenz-Landau, Koblenz, Germany
Interests: amphibia; population ecology; behaviour; bioacoustics; host–parasite interactions
Prof. Dr. Patrick Leander Scheid
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Institute of Integrated Sciences; Department of Biology, University of Koblenz-Landau, Koblenz, Germany
2. Laboratory of Medical Parasitology, Department XXI (Med. Microbiology), Central Military Hospital Koblenz, Koblenz, Germany
Interests: zoonoses; parasitology; host–parasite interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Diversity journal is about to launch a Special Issue dedicated to the diversity and ecological impact of parasites on amphibians and reptiles.

Amphibians and reptiles are known to harbor a great diversity of metazoan and protozoan ecto- and endoparasites, particularly ticks, helminths, cryptosporidia and some naidids. Behavioral features and morphological adaptions of hosts and parasites reflect their evolutionary relationships. The complex life cycles of certain parasites include amphibian larvae and/or adults as intermediate or definitive hosts. Speciation processes in the hosts may face the host specificity of parasites or evolve parallel speciation processes in the parasite. Nonetheless, our understanding of taxonomic diversity (e.g., parasite variation in distinct hosts, phylogenetic relationships within and among genera), of parasite–parasite interactions (e.g., community structure, inhibition and facilitation processes) and of host–parasite interactions (e.g., host specificity, fitness consequences of parasite load, effects towards global amphibian decline) is still limited. This Special Issue welcomes contributions on any of these aspects. Special emphasis is given to: (1) experimental studies on the interactions of host and parasite, including infection biology, (2) analyses of parasite community structure and its plasticity in wide-ranging hosts, (3) coevolution of hosts and parasite diversity, and (4) reviews covering comprehensively epidemiological, ecological or phylogenetic aspects of parasite diversity and impact.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Sinsch
Prof. Dr. Patrick Leander Scheid
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Taxonomical and functional diversity of parasites
  • Host–parasite interactions
  • Coevolution of host-parasite systems
  • Infection biology
  • Impact of parasite load on host ecology and behavior
  • parasites on amphibians and reptiles: zoonoses and reverse zoonoses

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Article
Alternative Development Strategies of Clinostomum chabaudi (Digenea) Metacercariae in Frog Hosts (Hyperolius spp.)
Diversity 2021, 13(2), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13020093 - 21 Feb 2021
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Abstract
Clinostomum metacercariae are common endoparasites of fish and frogs. In this study, we examine taxonomic identity and developmental strategy of Clinostomum metacercariae infesting reed frogs Hyperolius kivuensis and H. viridiflavus in Rwanda. Moreover, we evaluate the impact of infestation on demographic and morphological [...] Read more.
Clinostomum metacercariae are common endoparasites of fish and frogs. In this study, we examine taxonomic identity and developmental strategy of Clinostomum metacercariae infesting reed frogs Hyperolius kivuensis and H. viridiflavus in Rwanda. Moreover, we evaluate the impact of infestation on demographic and morphological life-history traits of the hosts. Morphological and molecular features, particularly genital morphology and COX1 sequences, provided evidence that the metacercariae belong to C. chabaudi Vercammen-Grandjean, 1960. Depending on the host’s defensive behavior and the availability of resources, metacercariae develop either as sedentary “yellow grubs” encysted in the lymphatic sacs or mouth of the host or as initially encysted, but later free-ranging individuals invading the host´s body cavity. Nutrition on lymphatic fluid within the cyst leads to yellow-colored gut content, feeding on blood or host tissue, to brownish green gut content in free-ranging individuals. Almost all metacercariae opted for the first developmental strategy in H. kivuensis, whereas the second strategy dominated in metacercariae infesting H. viridiflavus. Hyperolius kivuensis suffered significant morphological modifications, when infested with encysted metacercariae. Both developmental modes permitted a coexistence with the host of less than one year. We hypothesize that the presence of alternative development modes is an adaptation of C. chabaudi to cope with resource limitation within host-produced cysts. Full article
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Review

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Review
Nematodes of Amphibians from the South American Chaco: Distribution, Host Specificity and Ecological Aspects
Diversity 2021, 13(7), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13070321 - 15 Jul 2021
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Abstract
This is the first review of the nematode parasites of amphibians from Dry Chaco (DC) and Humid Chaco (HC) ecoregions of South America, covering aspects related to their systematics, distribution, host range and ecology, including their life cycles. Of approximately 100 species of [...] Read more.
This is the first review of the nematode parasites of amphibians from Dry Chaco (DC) and Humid Chaco (HC) ecoregions of South America, covering aspects related to their systematics, distribution, host range and ecology, including their life cycles. Of approximately 100 species of amphibians that inhabit these ecoregions, the nematode parasites of 32 species are known. The parasite species consisted of 51 taxa: 27 in HC and 18 in DC. The family Cosmocercidae alone included 18 species. Aplectana hylambatis and Cosmocerca podicipinus showed the widest geographical and host distribution. Leptodactylus bufonius and Rhinella major presented a high number of nematode parasites. The species richness of nematodes was related to the host body sizes and to the strategy to obtain prey. The mean species richness was higher in terrestrial amphibians with intermediate characteristics in the generalist–specialist spectrum in terms of diet, and in amphibians with intermediate characteristics between actively foraging and the “sit-and-wait” approach in terms of searching for prey. The patterns of similarity among amphibian species showed groups linking with their habitats. Nematodes usually have direct life cycles with the infectious form entering the host passively or actively. However, many amphibians are also involved in heteroxenous cycles that develop in the aquatic environment. Full article
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Review
Ecological Scenarios and Parasite Diversity in Anurans of West Africa: A Review
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060223 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 359
Abstract
This paper is a survey of the parasite diversity, prevalence and infection intensity in anurans in diverse ecological settings in West Africa. The settings included natural habitats (rainforests, freshwater creeks, Guinea and Sudan savannas), monoculture plantations (cocoa, cotton and oil palm), urbanized and [...] Read more.
This paper is a survey of the parasite diversity, prevalence and infection intensity in anurans in diverse ecological settings in West Africa. The settings included natural habitats (rainforests, freshwater creeks, Guinea and Sudan savannas), monoculture plantations (cocoa, cotton and oil palm), urbanized and urbanizing rainforest biotopes and polluted environments due to oil industry activities. The natural habitats had higher amphibian species diversity, moderate parasite prevalence and low infection intensity, showing a balance in the host/parasite relationship. These habitats yielded most of the monogeneans, among which were new species. The freshwater creek biotope had low amphibian diversity, but hosts from this environment harbored several parasite taxa, a situation attributed to a prolonged wet season, high environmental humidity and persistent breeding pools for insect vectors in this area. The monoculture plantations were characterized by high parasite prevalence but lower infection intensity. For example, in the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve in Bénin Republic, the Agricultural Zone (AZ) had higher parasite prevalence values, while the National Park (NP) and Buffer Zone (BZ) had higher infection intensities. Higher prevalence was attributed to the single or combined effects of vector population explosion, immune-suppression by agrochemicals, nutrient enrichment and eutrophication from fertilizer use. The lower infection intensity was attributed to the inhibitory effect of the pesticide-contaminated environment on the free-living larval stages of parasites. The adverse effect of pesticide contamination was also evident in the lower infection intensity recorded in the anurans from the cocoa plantations at Ugboke in comparison to those from the pesticide-free village settlement. Urbanization reduced host diversity and numbers and increased the vector population, resulting in unusually high parasite prevalence and infection intensities at Diobu and Port Harcourt and high prevalence recorded for Ophidascaris larvae in the anurans of Evbuabogun. Oil pollution in the mangrove community reduced both host and parasite diversity; infection intensity was also low due to the adverse conditions confronting free-living stages of parasites in their development milieu. The high prevalence values obtained for monogeneans (Polystoma spp.) in Ptychadena spp. from Ogoniland was presumed to have resulted from host tadpole sequestration and exposure to high oncomiracidia burden in the few hospitable ponds. Also reviewed is the phenomenon of amphibian paratenism, a strategy on which many helminth parasites rely on for their trophic transmission to their definitive hosts. Full article
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Review
An Overview of the Helminths of Moor Frog Rana arvalis Nilsson, 1842 (Amphibia: Anura) in the Volga Basin
Diversity 2021, 13(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13020061 - 04 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 506
Abstract
This is the first review of the helminth fauna of the moor frog Rana arvalis Nilsson, 1842 from the Volga river basin (Russia). The article summarizes the authors’ and literature data on the helminthic fauna of this species. The method of complete helminthological [...] Read more.
This is the first review of the helminth fauna of the moor frog Rana arvalis Nilsson, 1842 from the Volga river basin (Russia). The article summarizes the authors’ and literature data on the helminthic fauna of this species. The method of complete helminthological dissection was used. Thirthy-eight helminth species were recorded from three classes: Cestoda (1), Trematoda (28), and Chromadorea (9). Nine helminth species are new to the moor frog in Russia: trematodes Gorgodera varsoviensis Sinitzin, 1905, Strigea falconis Szidat, 1928, larvae, Neodiplostomum spathoides Dubois, 1937, larvae, Tylodelphys excavata (Rudolphi, 1803), larvae, Pharyngostomum cordatum (Diesing, 1850), larvae, Astiotrema monticelli Stossich, 1904, larvae and Encyclometra colubrimurorum (Rudolphi, 1819), larvae, nematodes Strongyloides spiralis Grabda-Kazubska, 1978 and Icosiella neglecta (Diesing, 1851). The cestode Spirometra erinacei (Rudolphi, 1918), larvae were observed of this amphibian species in the Volga basin for the first time. The nematodes Rhabdias bufonis, Oswaldocruzia filiformis, Cosmocerca ornata and the trematode Haplometra cylindracea form the core of the helminth fauna of the moor frog. Information on species of helminths includes systematic position, localization, areas of detection, type and scheme of life cycle, geographical distribution, and degree of specificity to host amphibians. Full article
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