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Cost of interspecific competition between trematode colonies

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In a range of trematode species, specific members of the parthenitae colony infecting the molluscan first intermediate host appear specialized for defence against co-infecting species. The evolution of such division of labour requires that co-infection entails fitness costs. Yet, this premise has very rarely been tested in species showing division of labour. Using Himasthla elongata (Himasthlidae) and Renicola roscovita (Renicolidae) infecting periwinkles Littorina littorea as study system, we show that the size of emerged cercariae is markedly reduced in both parasite species when competing over host resources. Cercarial longevity, on the other hand, is negatively influenced by competition only in R. roscovita. Season, which may impact the nutritional state of the host, also affects cercarial size, but only in H. elongata. Hence, our study underlines that cercarial quality is, indeed, compromised by competition, not only in the inferior R. roscovita (no division of labour) but also in the competitively superior H. elongata (division of labour).

TidsskriftJournal of Helminthology
Antal sider6
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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