Trematode-associated morbidity and mortality of tadpoles in Israel

L. Goren, J. Routtu, F. Ben-Ami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amphibians stand at the forefront of the global biodiversity crisis. The causes of their decline are diverse and include a rise in amphibian malformations due to various factors, especially trematode infection. However, linking amphibian mortality and morbidity with trematode infection has proven to be challenging due to the complex life cycle of the trematodes and the fact that trematodes are nonfastidious in their choice of definitive hosts. In Israel, the decline in local amphibian populations has been mostly attributed to the loss and degradation of wetlands and riparian habitats. Recently, however, there have been several reports of morbidity and mortality of tadpoles with signs of edema and malformations from various localities in Israel. We collected dead and morbid tadpoles and metamorphs of Hyla savignyi and Pelophylax bedriagae, and we showed that the morbidity and the deformations observed in the field are the result of infection by trematodes. We also isolated an echinostomatid trematode from the malformed and edematous tadpoles and from the freshwater snail Bulinus truncatus, all from the same site. We further succeeded in experimentally infecting H. savignyi tadpoles by echinostomatid cercariae that were shed from the snails, and we showed that infection had significantly increased the mortality rates of these tadpoles. The combination of high trematode prevalence and their pathogenic effects suggests that in nature, the effect of echinostome infection on amphibians may be substantial and could become an emerging disease in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3833-3841
Number of pages9
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 25 Sep 2014


  • Amphibian decline
  • Amphibian malformations
  • Bulinus truncatus
  • Echinostomatidae
  • Emerging diseases
  • Hyla savignyi
  • Pelophylax bedriagae

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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