Podocotyle atomon (Trematoda: Digenea) impacts reproductive behaviour, survival and physiology in Gammarus zaddachi (Amphipoda)

Katherine Arundell, Aurore Dubuffet, Nina Wedell, Jamie Bojko, Martin Rogers, Alison Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

ABSTRACT: The Trematoda are a group of phylogenetically diverse metazoan parasites that ex -
hibit complex life cycles that often pass through invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. Some trematodes
influence their host’s behaviour to benefit transmission. Their parasitic influence may
impact host population size by inhibiting an individual’s reproductive capacity. We assessed the
impact of infection by Podocotyle atomon on the reproductive behaviour and fecundity of its
amphipod intermediate host, Gammarus zaddachi, using laboratory and field studies. Parasite
prevalence was high in the field, with males more likely to be infected (prevalence in males 64%,
in females 39%). Males also suffered a higher parasite burden than females. Infected females
were less active, but we found no evidence for a reduction in female reproductive success. In -
fected females also had comparable pairing success to uninfected females. In males, infection re -
duced survival and fecundity, with mortality being highest, and sperm numbers lowest, in heavily
infected individuals. Trematode parasites are sometimes associated with altered host fecundity,
but studies often lack the relevant experimental data to explore the evolution of the trait. We discuss
this among information specific to the effect of P. atomon infection in G. zaddachi.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019

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