Seasonal Prevalence and Host Specificity of Lawrencarus sp. Mites in Anuran Hosts

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Florida Southern College
Ereynetid mites of the subfamily Lawrencarinae are small, free-living, endoparasitic mites found in the nasal passages of anuran hosts. While the physical and physiological attributes of the Lawrencarena subfamily have been described, there is little else known about this group of mites. This current study experimentally explores the anuran hosts, specificity of these parasitic mites and establishes the seasonal prevalence, abundance and host specificity of Lawrencarus cf. hylae mites in anurans over a year-long collection period near Lakeland Highland Scrub in Lakeland, Florida. A total of 378 endoparasitic mites were collected from the nasal cavity of Rana sphenocephala (Southern Leopard Frog). Seasonal prevalence, mean abundance, and mean intensity were not significantly different between male and female hosts, and there was no correlation found between host snout-vent length and parasite intensity for male and female hosts. The prevalence of infections in R. sphenocephala reached a peak of 90% in the fall, but never dropped below 60% during any season; mean abundance peaked in the spring, and the fewest mites were collected in the winter. The abundance of natural infection in R. sphenocephala in comparison to other anuran species studied could be an indication of host species preference. In experimental infections, the prevalence of infection of each anuran host was above 40%, and choice experimental infections indicated a preference of R. sphenocephala with a prevalence of infection of 100%. Overall, this study provides an investigation into the host specificity and preference of Lawrencarus cf. hylae mites, which presents insights into an understudied endoparasitic species.
Anura, Mites, Host-parasite relationships, Frogs