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Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Parasite Avoidance
- Buck, J.C., Weinstein, S.B., Young, H.S.
- Trends in ecology & evolution 2018 v.33 no.8 pp. 619-632
- fearfulness, hosts, parasites, predation, predators, risk
- Predators often cause prey to adopt defensive strategies that reduce predation risk. The ‘ecology of fear’ examines these trait changes and their consequences. Similarly, parasites can cause hosts to adopt defensive strategies that reduce infection risk. However the ecological and evolutionary consequences of these behaviors (the ‘ecology of disgust’) are seldom considered. Here we identify direct and indirect effects of parasite avoidance on hosts and parasites, and examine differences between predators and parasites in terms of cost, detectability, and aggregation. We suggest that the nonconsumptive effects of parasites might overshadow their consumptive effects, as has been shown for predators. We emphasize the value of uniting predator–prey and parasite–host theory under a general consumer–resource framework.