Infestation of wild-caught American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) by multiple species of metazoan parasites. Academic Article uri icon


  • The American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) is an aquatic, carnivorous member of the family Ranidae that is used extensively in physiology education programs and in various physiology, toxicology, sensorineural, and genetics research. Eleven bullfrogs purchased from a vendor distributing wild-caught frogs for use in a physiology research protocol were emaciated but otherwise showed no apparent clinical signs of illness. Necropsies performed on selected emaciated frogs indicated heavy infestation with multiple species of endoparasites. Identified helminths included Gorgodera amplicava, Haematolechus breviplexus, Clinostomum spp, Contracaecum spp, Cosmocercoides dukae, and Eustrongyloides spp. Grossly, parasitized bullfrogs showed encysted trematode larvae within skeletal muscle, nematode impaction of the intestinal tract, and lack of coelemic fat stores. Histopathologic lesions were restricted primarily to the gastrointestinal tract and consisted of parasitic granulomas associated with Contracaecum spp. The parasitic lesions may have been associated with the poor body condition of the bullfrogs. Food crickets maintained in-house were negative for parasite larvae or ova. Heavy parasitism of wild-caught bullfrogs may confound research protocols and markedly impair animal health. We encourage researchers to purchase laboratory-bred and -reared bullfrogs and to routinely monitor the parasite status of colony frogs.

author list (cited authors)

  • Lemke, L. B., Dronen, N., Fox, J. G., & Nambiar, P. R.

citation count

  • 5

publication date

  • May 2008