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Infection with acanthocephalans increases the vulnerability of Gammarus pulex (Crustacea, Amphipoda) to non-host invertebrate predators

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2008

Université de Bourgogne, UMR CNRS 5561 Biogéocsciences, Dijon, France
Université de Bourgogne, UMR CNRS 5561 Biogéocsciences, Dijon, France
Université de Bourgogne, UMR CNRS 5561 Biogéocsciences, Dijon, France
Université de Bourgogne, UMR CNRS 5561 Biogéocsciences, Dijon, France
*Corresponding author: Equipe Ecologie Evolutive, UMR CNRS 5561 Biogéosciences, Université de Bourgogne, 6 Boulevard Gabriel, 21000 Dijon, France. E-mail:


Phenotypic alterations induced by parasites in their intermediate hosts often result in enhanced trophic transmission to appropriate final hosts. However, such alterations may also increase the vulnerability of intermediate hosts to predation by non-host species. We studied the influence of both infection with 3 different acanthocephalan parasites (Pomphorhynchus laevis, P. tereticollis, and Polymorphus minutus) and the availability of refuges on the susceptibility of the amphipod Gammarus pulex to predation by 2 non-host predators in microcosms. Only infection with P. laevis increased the vulnerability of amphipods to predation by crayfish, Orconectes limosus. In contrast, in the absence of refuges, the selectivity of water scorpions, Nepa cinerea, for infected prey was significant and did not differ according to parasite species. When a refuge was available for infected prey, however, water scorpion selectivity for infected prey differed between parasite species. Both P. tereticollis- and P. laevis-infected gammarids were more vulnerable than uninfected ones, whereas the reverse was true of P. minutus-infected gammarids. These results suggest that the true consequences of phenotypic changes associated with parasitic infection in terms of increased trophic transmission of parasites deserve further assessment.

Original Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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