Is There Such Thing as a Parasite Free Lunch? The Direct and Indirect Consequences of Eating Invasive Prey

Department of Biology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By, Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6, Canada.
EcoHealth (Impact Factor: 2.45). 03/2012; 9(1):6-16. DOI: 10.1007/s10393-012-0757-7
Source: PubMed


As the number of invasive species increases globally, more and more native predators are reported to shift their diet toward invasive prey. The consequences of such diet shifts for the health of populations of native predators are poorly studied, but diet shifts are expected to have important parasitological and immunological consequences, ultimately affecting predator fitness. We reviewed evidence that diet shifts from native to invasive prey can alter parasite exposure directly and also indirectly affect immune functions via changes in condition and contaminant exposure. We highlight relevant conceptual and methodological tools that should be used for the design of experiments aimed at exploring important links between invasive prey and parasitism, contaminants and fitness of their native predators.

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