The parasitic trematode Proctoeces lintoni requires 3 hosts (intertidal mussels, keyhole limpets, and clingfish) to complete its life cycle. The densities and size structure of host communities are modified by selective human harvesting. This study examined clutch and egg size of P. lintoni in 3 adjacent sites in rocky intertidal areas of central Chile presenting differences in the levels of human disturbance (i.e., from a fully protected marine reserve to free open-access areas). We found significant differences in parasite fecundity among sites. An increase in number of eggs was observed inside protected marine areas compared with open-access areas, suggesting a plastic response of the parasite reproductive strategies to the host community modification. These results show that host removal by humans in coastal ecosystems can strongly influence parasite life history traits.
Evidence of Plasticity in the Reproduction of a Trematode Parasite: The Effect of Host Removal
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G. Loot, S. Blanchet, M. Aldana, Sergio A. Navarrete; Evidence of Plasticity in the Reproduction of a Trematode Parasite: The Effect of Host Removal. J Parasitol 1 February 2008; 94 (1): 23–27. doi: https://doi.org/10.1645/GE-1278.1
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