Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Published in the Journal of Parasitology (October 2004) 90(5): 1,169-1,171. Copyright 2004, the American Society of Parasitologists. Used by permission.


Larvae of certain species of blowflies (Calliphoridae) can cause myiasis in frogs and toads, but there are few reports from North American amphibians. Of these, most are from toads (bufonids). In this study, we observe primary myiasis in a population of juvenile wood frogs, Rana sylvatica, collected on August 22-23, 2003, from southeastern Wisconsin and compare our observations with previous studies on myiasis from toads. Two (5%) of 39 frogs were infected by the blow fly Bufolucilia silvarum, with an intensity of 28 and 31, whereas 1 (2.5%) of 39 frogs was infected by the blow fly Bufolucilia elongata with an intensity of 14. We found that (I) B. silvarum lay eggs on healthy wood frogs, (2) eggs hatch, with first-instar maggots penetrating under the skin, (3) maggots develop to mature third instars within 13-16 hr of egg hatching, (4) maggots kill the host within 7-47 hr of egg hatching, and (5) maggots consume the entire frog carcass reducing it to bones within 42-59 hr of egg hatching. Our observations on the time of death and how quickly carcasses of wood frogs were consumed by these maggots compared with previous studies on toads suggest that finding infected juvenile wood frogs may be uncommon. Therefore, myiasis by these flies on wood frogs and other small terrestrial anurans may be a phenomenon that is much more common than is currently observed. This is the first report of B. silvarum and B. elongata causing myiasis in wood frogs.

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