Because resistance to parasites usually has a cost for host species, it is theoretically expected that, in case of multi-infection, host immune responses should vary according to the levels of parasite pathogenicity. The crustacean gammarid Gammarus aequicauda is the second intermediate host of 4 trematode species. Three of these parasites always encyst in the abdomen of gammarids and have no particular effect on the host. However, 1 of these species is sometimes able to encyst in the cerebroid ganglia of the gammarid and strongly alter its behavior in a way that increases its predation risk by aquatic birds, the definitive hosts. In accordance with the hypothesis that the level of parasite pathogenicity influences the likehood and the degree of host reaction, cases of melanization in our gammarid collection almost exclusively concern the cerebral metacercariae. Our results also indicate that this melanization is able to cancel the behavioral alterations induced by the parasite, suggesting that the cause of the manipulation is not the physical presence of metacercariae in the brain.

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