First line of defence: Skin microbiota may protect anurans from infective larval lungworms

Keith Christian, Richard Shine, Kimberley A. Day, Mirjam Kaestli, Karen Gibb, Catherine M. Shilton, Gregory P. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Functional roles of the rich microbiota of the skin are not fully understood, but include protection against microbial diseases and other environmental challenges. In experimental studies, we show that reducing the microbiota from cane toad (Rhinella marina) skin by gently wiping with absorptive gauze resulted in threefold higher rates of infection by lungworms (Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala) following standardised exposure to infective skin-penetrating larvae. Higher concentrations of microbial DNA were associated with lower rates of lungworm entry. Our data suggest that microbial activity on the anuran skin comprises an important line of defence against attack by macroparasites as well as by fungi and other microbes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-189
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal For Parasitology: Parasites And Wildlife
Early online dateMar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Georgia Ward-Fear for collecting toads and Alea Rose for her help with the qPCR analyses. This study was financed by the Australian Research Council ( DP190100507 , DP190102395 ) and Charles Darwin University .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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