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species specific diseases

Mark Siddall mes at zoo.toronto.edu
Sat Mar 4 22:18:47 EST 1995

In article <NEWTNews.8100.794224117.grenard at herpmed.com> grenard at herpmed.com writes:
>I dont know if anyone can answer this but I thought I would throw it
>out here anyway. Recently a wildlife management agency in Australia
>asked on a herpetology mail-list if anyone knows of any microorganism
>that could be used to destroy  one species of toad, Bufo marinus
>aka Cane or Marine Toad exclusively. It must be guaranteed not to
>affect any other species of frog, topad or their larvae or any other
>species of animal. Does such a bug exist? 

The lab of Prof. Sherwin Desser has done a great deal on the various
protistam parasites of anurans.  Having spentmy graduate student days 
in that lab I feel I can answer your question with a resounding "No".
At least insofar as the protistan parasites are concerned.
a) many of the blood parasites appear to be either frog or toad specific
b) none appear to be lethal.
Anurans so well tolerate their parasites that we used them in a 
teaching lab entitled "Is a frog _just_ a frog?".  Frogs obtained 
from biological supply houses are routinely loaded with blood parasites,
lung flukes and nematodes, intestinal worms and parasites etc etc etc.
Even with huge parasite loads the frogs do appear in any way 
Donald Martin specialized in toad parasites (Trypanosoma spp.) and would,
I think, concur.

>As an aside most of the poeple on the group including myself feel
>that even considering such an idea is not the way to go. Australia
>should learn by now. The Cane toad itself was an experiment in
>biological control gone awry.

I think selective squashing with the right front wheel of automobiles
is still the outback's best control (at least it seemed so in the movie
I saw!).


Mark E. Siddall                "I don't mind a parasite...
mes at vims.edu                    I object to a cut-rate one" 
Virginia Inst. Marine Sci.                     - Rick
Gloucester Point, VA, 23062

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