[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Host exploitation induces host defence responses and competition between parasites, resulting in individual parasites facing highly variable environments. Alternative life strategies may thus be expressed in context-dependent ways, depending on which host species is used and intra-host competition between parasites. Coitocaecum parvum (Trematode) can use facultative progenesis in amphipod intermediate hosts, Paracalliope fluviatilis, to abbreviate its life cycle in response to such environmental factors. Coitocaecum parvum also uses another amphipod host, Paracorophium excavatum, a species widely different in size and ecology from P. fluviatilis. In this study, parasite infection levels and strategies in the two amphipod species were compared to determine whether the adoption of progenesis by C. parvum varied between these two hosts. Potential differences in size and/or egg production between C. parvum individuals according to amphipod host species were also investigated. Results show that C. parvum life strategy was not influenced by host species. In contrast, host size significantly affected C. parvum strategy, size and egg production. Since intra-host interactions between co-infecting parasites also influenced C. parvum strategy, size and fecundity, it is highly likely that within-host resource limitations affect C. parvum life strategy and overall fitness regardless of host species.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Behavioural alterations induced by parasites in their intermediate hosts can spatially structure host populations, possibly resulting in enhanced trophic transmission to definitive hosts. However, such alterations may also increase intermediate host vulnerability to non-host predators. Parasite-induced behavioural alterations may thus vary between parasite species and depend on each parasite definitive host species. We studied the influence of infection with 2 acanthocephalan parasites (Echinorhynchus truttae and Polymorphus minutus) on the distribution of the amphipod Gammarus pulex in the field. Predator presence or absence and predator species, whether suitable definitive host or dead-end predator, had no effect on the micro-distribution of infected or uninfected G. pulex amphipods. Although neither parasite species seem to influence intermediate host distribution, E. truttae infected G. pulex were still significantly more vulnerable to predation by fish (Cottus gobio), the parasite's definitive hosts. In contrast, G. pulex infected with P. minutus, a bird acanthocephalan, did not suffer from increased predation by C. gobio, a predator unsuitable as host for P. minutus. These results suggest that effects of behavioural changes associated with parasite infections might not be detectable until intermediate hosts actually come in contact with predators. However, parasite-induced changes in host spatial distribution may still be adaptive if they drive hosts into areas of high transmission probabilities.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parasites often face a trade-off between exploitation of host resources and transmission probabilities to the next host. In helminths, larval growth, a major component of adult parasite fitness, is linked to exploitation of intermediate host resources and is influenced by the presence of co-infecting conspecifics. In manipulative parasites, larval growth strategy could also interact with their ability to alter intermediate host phenotype and influence parasite transmission.
We used experimental infections of Gammarus pulex by Pomphorhynchus laevis (Acanthocephala), to investigate larval size effects on host behavioural manipulation among different parasite sibships and various degrees of intra-host competition.
Intra-host competition reduced mean P. laevis cystacanth size, but the largest cystacanth within a host always reached the same size. Therefore, all co-infecting parasites did not equally suffer from intraspecific competition. Under no intra-host competition (1 parasite per host), larval size was positively correlated with host phototaxis. At higher infection intensities, this relationship disappeared, possibly because of strong competition for host resources, and thus larval growth, and limited manipulative abilities of co-infecting larval acanthocephalans.
Our study indicates that behavioural manipulation is a condition-dependant phenomenon that needs the integration of parasite-related variables to be fully understood.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parasite infection patterns were compared with the occurrence of their intermediate hosts in the diet of nine sympatric fish species in a New Zealand lake. Stomach contents and infection levels of three gastrointestinal helminth species were examined from the entire fish community. The results highlighted some links between fish host diet and the flow of trophically transmitted helminths. Stomach contents indicated that all but one fish species were exposed to these helminths through their diet. Host feeding behaviour best explained infection patterns of the trematode Coitocaecum parvum among the fish community. Infection levels of the nematode Hedruris spinigera and the acanthocephalan Acanthocephalus galaxii, however, were not correlated with host diets. Host specificity is thus likely to modulate parasite infection patterns. The data indicate that host diet and host-parasite compatibility both contribute to the distribution of helminths in the fish community. Furthermore, the relative influence of encounter (trophic interactions between prey and predator hosts) and compatibility (host suitability) filters on infection levels appeared to vary between host-parasite species associations. Therefore, understanding parasite infection patterns and their potential impacts on fish communities requires determining the relative roles of encounter and compatibility filters within and across all potential host-parasite associations.
Journal of Fish Biology 08/2011; 79(2):466-85. · 1.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The life cycle of Hedruris spinigera Baylis, 1931 (Nematoda: Hedruridae) is determined here with the first formal identification of the parasite's intermediate host: the crustacean amphipod Paracorophium excavatum Thomson. Adult H. spinigera are redescribed from specimens collected from the stomach of fishes, Retropinna retropinna (Richardson) and Aldrichettaforsteri (Valenciennes), from Lake Waihola, New Zealand. Immature adults of the parasite collected from intermediate hosts (P. excavatum) are also described for the first time. The prevalence, abundance and intensity of infection of H. spinigera in several fish species are quantified along with the occurrence of P. excavatum, the parasite's intermediate host, in fish stomach contents. Although H. spinigera's transmission mode (trophic transmission) and fish diet potentially expose all fish species to infection, some level of host specificity must exist as parasite prevalence, abundance and intensity of infection vary greatly between potential definitive host species. We suggest here that the anatomy of the fish digestive tract and especially that of the stomach plays an important role in host suitability for H. spinigera. While P. excavatum is the only intermediate host in Lake Waihola, H. spinigera was found in six different fish species: Aldrichetta forsteri, Galaxias maculatus (Jenyns), Retropinna retropinna, Rhombosolea retiaria Hutton, Perca fluviatilis Linnaeus and Salmo trutta Linnaeus; although typical hedrurid attachment and mating positions were observed only in R. retropinna and A. forsteri. The limited distribution of H. spinigera is most likely due to that of its different host species (intermediate and definitive), all inhabitants of coastal fresh and brackish waters.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The typical multi-host life cycle of many parasites, although conferring several advantages, presents the parasites with a highly hazardous transmission route. As a consequence, parasites have evolved various adaptations increasing their chances of transmission between the different hosts of the life cycle. Some trematode species like the opecoelid Coitocaecum parvum have adopted a more drastic alternative strategy whereby the definitive host is facultatively dropped from the cycle, resulting in a shorter, hence easier to complete, life cycle. Like other species capable of abbreviating their life cycle, C. parvum does so through progenetic development within its intermediate host. Laboratory-reared C. parvum can modulate their developmental strategy inside the second intermediate host according to current transmission opportunities, though this ability is not apparent in natural C. parvum populations. Here we show that this difference is likely due to the time C. parvum individuals spend in their intermediate hosts in the natural environment. Although transmission opportunities, i.e. chemical cues of the presence of definitive hosts, promoted the adoption of a truncated life cycle in the early stages of infection, individuals that remained in their amphipod host for a relatively long time had a similar probability of adopting progenesis and the abbreviated cycle, regardless of the presence or absence of chemical cues from the predator definitive host. These results support the developmental time hypothesis which states that parasites capable of facultative life cycle abbreviation should eventually adopt progenesis regardless of transmission opportunities, and provide further evidence of the adaptive plasticity of parasite transmission strategies.
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 07/2009; 22(8):1727-38. · 3.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One of the most complex and least understood transmission strategies displayed by pathogenic parasites is that of manipulation of host behaviour. A wide variety of parasites alter their host's behaviour, including species of medical and veterinary importance, such as Diplostomum spathaceum, Echinococcus spp. and Toxoplasma gondii. The manipulative ability of these parasites has implications for pathology and transmission dynamics. Domestic animals are hosts for manipulative pathogens, either by being the target host and acquiring the parasite as a result of vector-host manipulation, or by having their behaviour changed by manipulative parasites. This review uses several well-known pathogens to demonstrate how host manipulation by parasites is potentially important in epidemiology.
The Veterinary Journal 03/2009; 184(1):9-13. · 2.42 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Theoretical models predict that genetic relatedness affects the competition within and between parasite clonal groups sharing a common host. Here, we studied natural and experimental multiple infections of the trematode Coitocaecum parvum in its intermediate host. We focused on the effects of clonality on the life-history strategy of parasites competing for resources. Coitocaecum parvum can either delay maturation until its amphipod host is ingested by a definitive host, or adopt a progenetic strategy and reproduce inside the amphipod. Within a common host, clonal parasites were more likely to adopt identical life-history strategies than different genetic clones, both in natural and experimental infections. However, when timing of infection and other factors were controlled experimentally, parasites sharing a host were likely to adopt identical strategies regardless of their clonal identity, although pairs of clones were more likely to adopt progenesis than pairs of nonclones. The asymmetries in relative size and egg production between coinfecting parasites adopting the same life-history strategy were slightly, but not significantly, higher between different clones than identical clones. Our results suggest that the dynamics of competition between coinfecting parasites, although influenced by numerous external factors, is also modulated by genetic relatedness among parasites.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Self-fertilization (or selfing), defined as the fusion of male and female reproductive cells originating from the same individual, is the most extreme case of inbreeding. Although most hermaphroditic organisms are in principle able to self-fertilize, this reproductive strategy is commonly associated with a major disadvantage: inbreeding depression. Deleterious effects due to the loss of genetic diversity have been documented in numerous organisms including parasites. Here we studied the effects of inbreeding depression on the offspring of the progenetic trematode Coitocaecum parvum. The parasite can use 2 alternative life-history strategies: either it matures early, via progenesis, and produces eggs by selfing in its second intermediate host, or it waits and reproduces by out-crossing in its definitive host. We measured various key parameters of parasite fitness (i.e. hatching and multiplication rates, infectivity, survival) in offspring produced by both selfing and out-crossing. Altogether, we found no significant difference in the fitness of offspring from progenetic (selfing) and adult (out-crossing) parents. In addition, we found no evidence that either strategy (progenesis or the normal three-host cycle) is heritable, i.e. the strategy adopted by offspring is independent of that used by their parents. Although it is unclear why both reproductive strategies are maintained in C. parvum populations, our conclusion is that producing eggs by selfing has few, if any, negative effects on parasite offspring. Inbreeding depression is unlikely to be a factor acting on the maintenance of the normal three-host life cycle, and thus out-crossing, in C. parvum populations.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parasites with complex life cycles have developed numerous and very diverse adaptations to increase the likelihood of completing this cycle. For example, some parasites can abbreviate their life cycles by skipping the definitive host and reproducing inside their intermediate host. The resulting shorter life cycle is clearly advantageous when definitive hosts are absent or rare. In species where life-cycle abbreviation is facultative, this strategy should be adopted in response to seasonally variable environmental conditions. The hermaphroditic trematode Coitocaecum parvum is able to mature precociously (progenesis), and produce eggs by selfing while still inside its amphipod second intermediate host. Several environmental factors such as fish definitive host density and water temperature are known to influence the life-history strategy adopted by laboratory raised C. parvum. Here we document the seasonal variation of environmental parameters and its association with the proportion of progenetic individuals in a parasite population in its natural environment. We found obvious seasonal patterns in both water temperature and C. parvum host densities. However, despite being temporally variable, the proportion of progenetic C. parvum individuals was not correlated with any single parameter. The results show that C. parvum life-history strategy is not as flexible as previously thought. It is possible that the parasite's natural environment contains so many layers of heterogeneity that C. parvum does not possess the ability to adjust its life-history strategy to accurately match the current conditions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Predation is often considered as one of the most important biotic factor determining the success of exotic species. The freshwater amphipod Gammarus roeseli has widely colonized Western Europe, where it is frequently found in sympatry with the native species (Gammarus pulex). Previous laboratory experiments revealed that G. roeseli may have an advantage over G. pulex through differential predation by native fish (brown trout). Morphological anti-predator defences (spines) were found responsible for lower rates of predation on the invasive G. roeseli. Here, using both field surveys and laboratory experiments, we tested if a differential of predation exists with other fish predators naturally encountered by gammarids. The main predators present in our field site were nocturnal benthic feeders (mainly bullheads, Cottus gobio). Fish diet analysis showed that, compared to its global availability in the river, G. roeseli was less consumed than G. pulex. In the field, however, G. roeseli was found mainly in the aquatic vegetation whereas G. pulex was found in all habitat types. Laboratory experiments in microcosms revealed that G. roeseli was less prone to predation by C. gobio only when vegetation was present. Depending on the type of predator, the differential of predation could therefore be mediated by antipredator behaviour, and a better usage of refuges, rather than by morphological defences.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Larval helminths often share intermediate hosts with other individuals of the same or different species. Competition for resources and/or conflicts over transmission routes are likely to influence both the association patterns between species and the life history strategies of each individual. Parasites sharing common intermediate hosts may have evolved ways to avoid or associate with other species depending on their definitive host. If not, individual parasites could develop alternative life history strategies in response to association with particular species. Three sympatric species of helminths exploit the amphipod Paracalliope fluviatilis as an intermediate host in New Zealand: the acanthocephalan Acanthocephalus galaxii, the trematode Microphallus sp. and the progenetic trematode Coitocaecum parvum. Adult A. galaxii and C. parvum are both fish parasites whereas Microphallus sp. infects birds. We found no association, either positive or negative, among the three parasite species. The effects of intra- and interspecific interactions were also measured in the trematode C. parvum. Both intra- and interspecific competition seemed to affect both the life history strategy and the size and fecundity of C. parvum. Firstly, the proportion of progenesis was higher in metacercariae sharing their host with Microphallus sp., the bird parasite, than in any other situation. Second, the intensity of intraspecific competition apparently constrained the ability of metacercariae to adopt progenesis and limited both the growth and egg production of progenetic individuals. These results show that the life history strategy adopted by a parasite may be influenced by other parasites sharing the same host.
International journal for parasitology 06/2008; 38(12):1435-44. · 3.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined the utility of fluorescent fatty acid analog dyes for labeling larval trematodes to use in experimental infections. Our goals were to identify two dyes that label larval trematodes belonging to the species Maritrema novaezealandensis and Coitocaecum parvum, determine if the dyes influence survival and infectivity of larval trematodes and/or host mortality, and if larval trematodes labeled with alternative dyes could be distinguished post-infection. The two dyes tested, BODIPY FL C(12) and BODIPY 558/568 C(12), successfully labeled all treated larval trematodes, did not influence cercariae survival or infectivity, and did not influence host mortality in either host-parasite system. All larval parasites were fluorescent and distinguishable after 5 days in amphipod intermediate hosts. In addition, larval Acanthoparyphium sp. were strongly fluorescent with both dyes after 5 weeks within cockle hosts. This method should be extremely useful for experimental studies using trematode-host systems as models for addressing a range of ecological and evolutionary questions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The frequent co-occurrence of two or more genotypes of the same parasite species in the same individual hosts has often been predicted to select for higher levels of virulence. Thus, if parasites can adjust their level of host exploitation in response to competition for resources, mixed-clone infections should have more profound impacts on the host. Trematode parasites are known to induce a wide range of modifications in the morphology (size, shell shape or ornamentation) of their snail intermediate host. Still, whether mixed-clone trematode infections have additive effects on the phenotypic alterations of the host remains to be tested. Here, we used the snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum-infected by the trematode Coitocaecum parvum to test for both the general effect of the parasite on host phenotype and possible increased host exploitation in multi-clone infections. Significant differences in size, shell shape and spinosity were found between infected and uninfected snails, and we determined that one quarter of naturally infected snails supported mixed-clone infections of C. parvum. From the parasite perspective, this meant that almost half of the clones identified in this study shared their snail host with at least one other clone. Intra-host competition may be intense, with each clone in a mixed-clone infection experiencing major reductions in volume and number of sporocysts (and consequently multiplication rate and cercarial production) compared with single-clone infections. However, there was no significant difference in the intensity of host phenotype modifications between single and multiple-clone infections. These results demonstrate that competition between parasite genotypes may be strong, and suggest that the frequency of mixed-clone infections in this system may have selected for an increased level of host exploitation in the parasite population, such that a single-clone is associated with a high degree of host phenotypic alteration.
International Journal for Parasitology 12/2007; 37(13):1459-67. · 3.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parasites relying on trophic transmission to complete their life cycles often induce modifications of their host's behavior in ways that may increase their susceptibility to predation by final hosts. These modifications have often been interpreted as parasite adaptations, but very few studies have demonstrated that host manipulation has fitness benefits for the parasite. The aim of the present study was to address the adaptive significance of parasite manipulation by coupling observations of behavioral manipulation to estimates of trophic transmission to the definitive host in the natural environment. We show that the acanthocephalan parasite Pomphorhynchus laevis manipulates the drifting behavior of one of its intermediate hosts, the amphipod Gammarus pulex, but not of a sympatric host, the introduced amphipod Gammarus roeseli. We found a 26.3-28.3 times higher proportion of infected G. pulex in the stomach content of one of the definitive hosts of P. laevis, the bullhead Cottus gobio, than in the benthos. No such trend was observed for G. roeseli. The bell-shaped curve of mean parasite abundance (MPA) relative to host size observed in G. pulex also supported an increased predation mortality of P. laevis-infected individuals compared to uninfected amphipods. Again, no such pattern was observed in G. roeseli. Furthermore, our results indicate that the modifications induced by P. laevis are specific to the definitive host and do not increase the risk of predation by inappropriate hosts, here the adult edible frog Rana esculenta. Overall, our study is original in that it establishes, under field conditions, a direct link between parasitic manipulation and increased transmission to the definitive host, and more importantly, identifies the specificity of the manipulation both in the intermediate host species and toward the definitive host.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nine polymorphic microsatellite loci were characterized from the freshwater trematode Coitocaecum parvum. This parasite can either reproduce sexually in the definitive host or produce eggs by selfing inside its second intermediate host. Two to 11 alleles per locus were detected in 24 trematode sporocysts and observed heterozygosities ranged from 0.04 to 0.96. These loci will be useful for identifying parasite genetic clones within hosts and testing for effects of relatedness on parasite life history strategy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The complex life cycles of parasites are thought to have evolved from simple one-host cycles by incorporating new hosts. Nevertheless, complex developmental routes present parasites with a sequence of highly unlikely transmission events in order to complete their life cycles. Some trematodes like Coitocaecum parvum use facultative life cycle abbreviation to counter the odds of trophic transmission to the definitive host. Parasites adopting life cycle truncation possess the ability to reproduce within their intermediate host, using progenesis, without the need to reach the definitive host. Usually, both abbreviated and normal life cycles are observed in the same population of parasites. Here, we demonstrate experimentally that C. parvum can modulate its development in its amphipod intermediate host and adopt either the abbreviated or the normal life cycle depending on current transmission opportunities or the degree of intra-host competition among individual parasites. In the presence of cues from its predatory definitive host, the parasite is significantly less likely to adopt progenesis than in the absence of such cues. An intermediate response is obtained when the parasites are exposed to cues from non-host predators. The adoption of progenesis is less likely, however, when two parasites share the resource-limited intermediate host. These results show that parasites with complex developmental routes have transmission strategies and perception abilities that are more sophisticated than previously thought.
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 06/2007; 20(3):1189-95. · 3.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gastric lavage was used to investigate the effects of temperature on persistence time of two amphipod species, one native Gammarus pulex and one invasive Gammarus roeseli, in the stomachs of bullhead Cottus gobio. Persistence time was strongly influenced by temperature and prey type, such that G. pulex species degraded faster than G. roeseli.
Journal of Fish Biology 01/2006; 68(1):318 - 322. · 1.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Selective predation may be an important proximate cause of the success or failure of invader species. Gammarus roeseli is an invasive amphipod, for which the causes of establishment in rivers where the native species, Gammarus pulex, predominates remain unstudied. Freshwater amphipods are important prey for numerous fish predators, but empirical evidence of lower predation rates on exotic prey is scarce. In laboratory experiments, we compared the susceptibility of G. pulex and G. roeseli to fish predation, determined the mechanisms influencing prey selection, and studied the interaction between behavioural and morphological defences. Fish predators (brown trout, Salmo trutta fario) preyed selectively on G. pulex, but not because of differences in attack or capture probability. The presence of spines in G. roeseli appeared to contribute to its underpredation. Differential prey selection in this case might therefore have resulted from the trout's reaction to an adverse stimulus. We found no significant difference in antipredator behaviour between G. pulex and G. roeseli. General behavioural differences were nevertheless found between species, with G. roeseli spending more time under shelters than G. pulex. However, microcosm experiments suggested that this difference was not important for differential predation. Antipredator behaviour may nevertheless be important for G. roeseli against other predators less sensitive to spines.