Author(s): Plaistow SJ, Troussard JP, Czilly F
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Abstract Besides conspicuous changes in behaviour, manipulative parasites may also induce subtle physiological effects in the host that may also be favourable to the parasite. In particular, parasites may be able to influence the re-allocation of resources in their own favour. We studied the association between the presence of the acanthocephalan parasite, Pomphorhynchus laevis, and inter-individual variation in the lipid and glycogen content of its crustacean host, Gammarus pulex (Amphipoda). Infected gravid females had significantly lower lipid contents than uninfected females, but there was no difference in the lipid contents of non-gravid females and males that were infected with P. laevis. In contrast, we found that all individuals that were parasitised by P. laevis had significantly increased glycogen contents, independent of their sex and reproductive status. We discuss our results in relation to sex-related reproductive strategies of hosts, and the influence they may have on the level of conflict over energy allocation between the host and the parasite.
This article was published in Int J Parasitol
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology