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Consumer and host body size effects on the removal of trematode cercariae by ambient communities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 October 2018


Jennifer E. Welsh
Affiliation:
Department of Coastal Systems, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Utrecht University, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB den Burg, Texel, the Netherlands
Anke Hempel
Affiliation:
Department of Coastal Systems, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Utrecht University, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB den Burg, Texel, the Netherlands
Mirjana Markovic
Affiliation:
Department of Coastal Systems, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Utrecht University, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB den Burg, Texel, the Netherlands
Jaap van der Meer
Affiliation:
Department of Coastal Systems, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Utrecht University, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB den Burg, Texel, the Netherlands
David W. Thieltges
Affiliation:
Department of Coastal Systems, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Utrecht University, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB den Burg, Texel, the Netherlands
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Parasite transmission can be altered via the removal of parasites by the ambient communities in which parasite–host interactions take place. However, the mechanisms driving parasite removal remain poorly understood. Using marine trematode cercariae as a model system, we investigated the effects of consumer and host body size on parasite removal rates. Laboratory experiments revealed that consumer or host body size significantly affected cercarial removal rates in crabs, oysters and cockles but not in shrimps. In general, cercarial removal rates increased with consumer (crabs and oysters) and host (cockles) body size. For the filter feeding oysters and cockles, the effects probably relate to their feeding activity which is known to correlate with bivalve size. Low infection levels found in cockle hosts suggest that parasite removal by hosts also leads to significant mortality of infective stages. The size effects of crab and shrimp predators on cercarial removal rates were more complex and did not show an expected size match-mismatch between predators and their cercarial prey, suggesting that parasite removal rates in predators are species-specific. We conclude that to have a comprehensive understanding of parasite removal by ambient communities, more research into the various mechanisms of cercarial removal is required.


Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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