Presentation Type

Poster

Title of Abstract

Effects of diet composition on Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) tadpole development and circulating immune cells

Abstract

Cuban tree frogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis), introduced and established in the southeastern US, have a varied diet that includes predation and herbivory. Their success may be partially attributable to predation on native anurans, as both larva and adults. Cuban tree frogs’ feeding strategy extends to eating conspecifics, resulting in cannibalism. However there may be trade-offs with cannibalism, including a risk of species-specific pathogen exposure. A carnivorous diet is more calorie dense than a vegetarian diet; others have shown that predation increases growth rate and size at metamorphosis. We hypothesize that in addition to increased growth parameters, nutrition associated with predation confers immunological advantages, such as increased circulating immune cells, which could mitigate any increase in exposure to pathogens. To test whether Cuban tree frog tadpoles benefit immunologically from predation, tadpoles were fed one of six feeding regimes consisting of mixtures of dehydrated tadpole and rabbit chow in ratios of 100/0 to 0/100. After 6 weeks, blood was collected and immune cells (lymphocytes, thrombocytes, eosinophils, neutrophils and basophils) were quantified per 5000 red blood cells. If cannibalism increases circulating immune cells, Cuban tree frogs’ success as an invasive species may be attributable to direct and indirect benefits from facultative predation by larvae.

Categories

Natural Sciences

Research Type

Research Assistant

Mentor Information

Dr. Lynn B. Martin

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Effects of diet composition on Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) tadpole development and circulating immune cells

Cuban tree frogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis), introduced and established in the southeastern US, have a varied diet that includes predation and herbivory. Their success may be partially attributable to predation on native anurans, as both larva and adults. Cuban tree frogs’ feeding strategy extends to eating conspecifics, resulting in cannibalism. However there may be trade-offs with cannibalism, including a risk of species-specific pathogen exposure. A carnivorous diet is more calorie dense than a vegetarian diet; others have shown that predation increases growth rate and size at metamorphosis. We hypothesize that in addition to increased growth parameters, nutrition associated with predation confers immunological advantages, such as increased circulating immune cells, which could mitigate any increase in exposure to pathogens. To test whether Cuban tree frog tadpoles benefit immunologically from predation, tadpoles were fed one of six feeding regimes consisting of mixtures of dehydrated tadpole and rabbit chow in ratios of 100/0 to 0/100. After 6 weeks, blood was collected and immune cells (lymphocytes, thrombocytes, eosinophils, neutrophils and basophils) were quantified per 5000 red blood cells. If cannibalism increases circulating immune cells, Cuban tree frogs’ success as an invasive species may be attributable to direct and indirect benefits from facultative predation by larvae.