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Pairing success and sperm reserve of male Gammarus pulex infected by Cyathocephalus truncatus (Cestoda: Spathebothriidea)



Manipulative parasites with complex life cycles are known to induce behavioural and physiological changes in their intermediate hosts. Cyathocephalus truncatus is a manipulative parasite which infects Gammarus pulex as intermediate host. G. pulex males display pre-copulatory mate guarding as a response to male-male competition for access to receptive females. In this paper, we tested the influence that C. truncatus-infection might have on male G. pulex sperm number and pairing success. We considered 3 classes of G. pulex males in our experiments: (i) uninfected males found paired in the field, (ii) uninfected males found unpaired in the field, or (iii) infected males found unpaired in the field. Both infected males and uninfected unpaired males paired less with a new female than uninfected paired males did. Furthermore, infected males appear to be at a strong disadvantage when directly competing for females with a healthy rival male, and had fewer sperm in their testes. We discuss the potential effect of male and female mating strategies on such male host mating alteration.


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


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Pairing success and sperm reserve of male Gammarus pulex infected by Cyathocephalus truncatus (Cestoda: Spathebothriidea)



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