The 2 objectives of this study were: (1) to compare parasite detectability in blood smears obtained from toe-clips versus the heart from amphibian hosts; and (2) to test whether microfilariae density is correlated with adult filarial worm intensity. We examined blood parasites of 2 species of amphibians, Rana vaillanti (n = 45) and Eleutherodactylus fitzingeri (n = 36), from Costa Rica collected during the summer of 2003. Separate blood smears were obtained from toe-clips and the heart during necrospy. Eight species of blood parasites were identified from R. vaillanti and 1 from E. fitzingeri. Each parasite species was counted in a 2 × 2.2-cm2 area on each blood smear, and the density of host red blood cells (RBCs) was estimated using a sub-sampling approach, allowing parasite infections to be expressed as individuals per RBC. The detection failure rate for toe-cut smears ranged from 71–100% (x̄ = 92.3%) and from 0–9% (x̄ = 2.4%) for heart smears, depending on parasite species. The density of RBCs was significantly higher in smears produced from heart samples and may explain the differences in detectability. Foleyellides striatus microfilariae densities (per RBC) were significantly correlated with adult female worm intensity (R2 = 0.32, P = 0.011).
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