Quantitative study of Trichodina heterodentata (Ciliophora: Mobilia) infrapopulations infesting tadpoles of a Brazilian endemic toad Rhinella pombali (Anura: Bufonidae)
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In this work we investigated the quantitative aspects of the relationship between Rhinella pombali (Baldissera, Caramaschi & Haddad, 2004) tadpoles and their trichodinid ectoparasites. Specimens were collected from a small stream located at an agricultural area between rainforest fragments in southeastern Brazil. A total of 80 tadpoles were investigated. Trichodina heterodentata Duncan, 1977 was the only trichodinid ciliate species recovered. All tadpoles were naturally infested by T. heterodentata with a mean intensity of 695.14 ± 33.33 trichodinid ciliates per tadpole. A positive correlation was observed between the intensity of the infestation and tadpole weight. Intensity of infestation did not significantly influence mean trichodinid diameter in the populations studied. This is the first study investigating density-dependent effects in interspecific interactions between trichodinids and anurans.