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Identifying a key host in an acanthocephalan-amphipod system
- BAUER, ALEXANDRE, RIGAUD, THIERRY
- Parasitology 2015 v.142 no.13 pp. 1588-1594
- Acanthocephala, Gammarus fossarum, Gammarus roeselii, intermediate hosts, parasites, predation
- Trophically transmitted parasites may use multiple intermediate hosts, some of which may be ‘key-hosts’, i.e. contributing significantly more to the completion of the parasite life cycle, while others may be ‘sink hosts’ with a poor contribution to parasite transmission. Gammarus fossarum and Gammarus roeseli are sympatric crustaceans used as intermediate hosts by the acanthocephalan Pomphorhynchus laevis. Gammarus roeseli suffers higher field prevalence and is less sensitive to parasite behavioural manipulation and to predation by definitive hosts. However, no data are available on between-host differences in susceptibility to P. laevis infection, making it difficult to untangle the relative contributions of these hosts to parasite transmission. Based on results from estimates of prevalence in gammarids exposed or protected from predation and laboratory infections, G. fossarum specimens were found to be more susceptible to P. laevis infection. As it is more susceptible to both parasite infection and manipulation, G. fossarum is therefore a key host for P. laevis transmission.