Conflict of interest between a nematode and a trematode in an amphipod host: Test of the "sabotage" hypothesis

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
By: , and 



Microphallus papillorobustus is a manipulative trematode that induces strong behavioural alterations in the gamaridean amphipod Gammarus insensibilis, making the amphipod more vulnerable to predation by aquatic birds (definitive hosts). Conversely, the sympatric nematodeGammarinema gammari uses Gammarus insensibilis as a habitat and a source of nutrition. We investigated the conflict of interest between these two parasite species by studying the consequences of mixed infection on amphipod behaviour associated with the trematode. In the field, some amphipods infected by the trematode did not display the altered behaviour. These normal amphipods also had more nematodes, suggesting that the nematode overpowered the manipulation of the trematode, a strategy that would prolong the nematode's life. We hypothesize that sabotage of the trematode by the nematode would be an adaptive strategy for the nematode consistent with recent speculation about co-operation and conflict in manipulative parasites. A behavioural test conducted in the laboratory from naturally infected amphipods yielded the same result. However, exposing amphipods to nematodes did not negate or decrease the manipulation exerted by the trematode. Similarly, experimental elimination of nematodes from amphipods did not permit trematodes to manipulate behaviour. These experimental data do not support the hypothesis that the negative association between nematodes and manipulation by the trematode is a result of the "sabotage" hypothesis.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Conflict of interest between a nematode and a trematode in an amphipod host: Test of the "sabotage" hypothesis
Series title Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
DOI 10.1007/s00265-001-0442-2
Volume 51
Issue 3
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 6 p.
First page 296
Last page 301
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