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Heteroxenous coccidia increase the predation risk of parasitized rodents

  • P. VOŘÍšEK (a1), J. VOTÝPKA (a2), K. ZVÁRA (a3) and M. SVOBODOVÁ (a2)
  • Published online: 01 December 1998

We have investigated the influence of heteroxenous coccidia (Apicomplexa: Eimeriorina) on the predation risk of intermediate hosts. Voles infected with Frenkelia spp. were found more frequently in buzzards' (Buteo buteo) prey than among snap-trapped rodents. To eliminate the possibility of traps selecting for uninfected rodents, a laboratory experiment was performed. Mice experimentally infected with Sarcocystis dispersa seemed to be more likely caught by the final host, the long-eared owl (Asio otus); this result was confirmed by a mathematical model. Field data confirmed the adaptive value of parasite-induced changes. The increase of predation is directed towards the specific final host only or is non-specific. In the populations studied the probability of predation of parasitized individuals by the specific predator was increased.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, 128 44 Prague 2, Czech Republic. Tel: +420 2 21 95 31 95. Fax: +420 2 29 97 13. E-mail:
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  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
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