Rates of development in male and female Wood Frogs and patterns of parasitism by lung nematodes
S U M M A R Y Researchers are becoming interested in testing whether investment in growth and/or development trades off against investment in parasite defence. We tested this idea by examining relations between development of Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica) and susceptibility to lung nematodes (Rhabdias ranae). Male and female frogs reared in outdoor mesocosms were the same length and mass at metamorphosis. However, males metamorphosed sooner than females. Lung nematodes were no more likely to
... more likely to penetrate male versus female metamorphs following controlled exposures, but males had higher intensities of adult female worms and the largest worms per host were, on average, of larger size in male metamorphs. Males that took longer to metamorphose carried higher numbers of worms in their lungs than males that metamorphosed early. In comparison, females that developed faster harboured more worms in their lungs than females that took longer to reach metamorphosis. Our results suggest that variation in susceptibility to lung nematodes is influenced by host sex and possibly also by sex-specific relations with developmental rate. Further, male hosts might prove to be a more important source of infective stages of worms than female hosts.