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Endoparasitism in colonial hosts: patterns and processes

Hill, S. L. L. and Okamura, B. (2007) Endoparasitism in colonial hosts: patterns and processes. Parasitology, 134. pp. 841-852. ISSN 0031-1820

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/s0031182007002259

Abstract/Summary

This study begins to redress our lack of knowledge of the interactions between colonial hosts and their parasites by focusing on a novel host-parasite system. Investigations of freshwater bryozoan populations revealed that infection by myxozoan parasites is widespread. Covert infections were detected in all 5 populations studied and were often at high prevalence while overt infections were observed in only 1. Infections were persistent in populations subject to temporal sampling. Negative effects of infection were identified but virulence was low. Infection did not induce mortality in the environmental conditions studied. However, the production of statoblasts (dormant propagules) was greatly reduced in bryozoans with overt infections in comparison to uninfected bryozoans. Overtly-infected bryozoans also grew more slowly and had low fission rates relative to colonies lacking overt infection. Bryozoans with covert infections were smaller than uninfected bryozoans. High levels of vertical transmission were achieved through colony fission and the infection of statoblasts. Increased fission rates may be a strategy for hosts to escape from parasites but the parasite can also exploit the fragmentation of colonial hosts to gain vertical transmission and dispersal. Our study provides evidence that opportunities and constraints for host-parasite co-evolution can be highly dependent on organismal body plans and that low virulence may be associated with exploitation of colonial hosts by endoparasites.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:10013
Uncontrolled Keywords:bryozoans, myxozoans, vertical transmission, covert infection, overt, infection, virulence, PROLIFERATIVE KIDNEY-DISEASE, TROUT ONCORHYNCHUS-MYKISS, TETRACAPSULOIDES-BRYOSALMONAE, RAINBOW-TROUT, PARASITE SYSTEM, BRYOZOAN, HOSTS, IMMUNE DEFENSE, LIFE-CYCLES, EVOLUTION, WATER

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