Origin of the parasites of an invading species, the Australian cane toad (Bufo marinus): are the lungworms Australian or American?


Sylvain Dubey. Fax: +61-2-93515609; E-mail: sylvain.dubey@bio.usyd.edu.au


Phylogeographical analyses that identify the geographical origin of parasites in invading species can clarify the parasites’ potential for biological control of the invader and the risks posed by the parasite to native species. Our data on nuclear and mitochondrial genetic sequences show that the nematode lungworms (Rhabdias spp.) in invasive Australian populations of cane toads (Bufo marinus) are Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala, a South American species. We did not find this lungworm species in any Australian frogs sympatric with cane toads, suggesting that the parasite does not attack Australian frogs and hence may offer potential as a biocontrol agent of the toad.