Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Eaten alive: cannibalism is enhanced by parasites

Bunke, M., Alexander, M. E., Dick, J. T. A., Hatcher, M. J., Paterson, Rachel and Dunn, A. M. 2015. Eaten alive: cannibalism is enhanced by parasites. Royal Society Open Science 2 (3) , 140369. 10.1098/rsos.140369

[img]
Preview
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (335kB) | Preview

Abstract

Cannibalism is ubiquitous in nature and especially pervasive in consumers with stage-specific resource utilization in resource-limited environments. Cannibalism is thus influential in the structure and functioning of biological communities. Parasites are also pervasive in nature and, we hypothesize, might affect cannibalism since infection can alter host foraging behaviour. We investigated the effects of a common parasite, the microsporidian Pleistophora mulleri, on the cannibalism rate of its host, the freshwater amphipod Gammarus duebeni celticus. Parasitic infection increased the rate of cannibalism by adults towards uninfected juvenile conspecifics, as measured by adult functional responses, that is, the rate of resource uptake as a function of resource density. This may reflect the increased metabolic requirements of the host as driven by the parasite. Furthermore, when presented with a choice, uninfected adults preferred to cannibalize uninfected rather than infected juvenile conspecifics, probably reflecting selection pressure to avoid the risk of parasite acquisition. By contrast, infected adults were indiscriminate with respect to infection status of their victims, probably owing to metabolic costs of infection and the lack of risk as the cannibals were already infected. Thus parasitism, by enhancing cannibalism rates, may have previously unrecognized effects on stage structure and population dynamics for cannibalistic species and may also act as a selective pressure leading to changes in resource use.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Royal Society, The
ISSN: 2054-5703
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 November 2018
Date of Acceptance: 16 February 2015
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2018 11:15
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/117023

Citation Data

Cited 11 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics