This study addresses the infrapopulation sizes of 2 larval trematode species Himasthla quissetensis and Zoogonus rubellus as they co-occur within their estuarine snail host Ilyanassa obsoleta. Rediae of H. quissetensis and sporocysts of Z. rubellus were counted in snails singly infected with each parasite and in snails infected with both. Comparisons of the counts indicate that infrapopulations of H. quissetensis were unaffected by co-occurrence with Z. rubellus. However, Z. rubellus infrapopulations were reduced when co-occurring with H. quissetensis. It is proposed that this situation does not result from an interspecific interaction between parasite species. Although this double infection is relatively frequent in certain snail populations, it is contended that these trematode species do not co-occur often enough to evolve responses to one another. However, the host environment must be encountered in each life cycle, and both trematode species must be adapted to use it. On this basis, whatever happens when these 2 species occupy the same host is based on adaptations of the parasites to the host. It is proposed that these parasites are adapted to self-limit their infrapopulations in the snail host. They can, thus, preserve and use the host for many years and thereby enhance total cercarial transmission (fitness). Infrapopulation sizes would be determined by host resource levels, which, among other factors, would be influenced by the presence of multiple parasite species. In single infections, by far the most common situation, host resource levels would be set by the nutritional status or age (size) of the host (or both). The reduced infrapopulation sizes of Z. rubellus on co-occurrence suggest that this trematode is more sensitive to host resource levels than is H. quissetensis.
INFRAPOPULATION SIZES OF CO-OCCURRING TREMATODES IN THE SNAIL ILYANASSA OBSOLETA
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Michael A. Hendrickson, Lawrence A. Curtis; INFRAPOPULATION SIZES OF CO-OCCURRING TREMATODES IN THE SNAIL ILYANASSA OBSOLETA. J Parasitol 1 October 2002; 88 (5): 884–889. doi: https://doi.org/10.1645/0022-3395(2002)088[0884:ISOCOT]2.0.CO;2
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