Section: Zoology
Topic: Biology of interactions, Population biology

Time-course of antipredator behavioral changes induced by the helminth Pomphorhynchus laevis in its intermediate host Gammarus pulex: the switch in manipulation according to parasite developmental stage differs between behaviors

10.24072/pcjournal.346 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 3 (2023), article no. e109.

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Many trophically transmitted parasites with complex life cycles manipulate their intermediate host’s antipredatory defenses in ways facilitating their transmission to final host by predation. Some parasites also protect the intermediate host from predation when noninfective during its ontogeny. The acanthocephalan Pomphorynchus laevis, a fish intestinal helminth, infecting freshwater gammarid amphipods as intermediate hosts, is using such a strategy of protection-then-exposure to predation by the definitive host. However, the whole time-course of this sequence of behavioral switch is not yet known, and only one antipredator behavior has been studied to date.  Here we show that the protective part of this manipulation begins quite late during the parasite ontogeny, suggesting that the advantages overpass the costs induced by this protective manipulation only at this stage. We confirmed that the refuge use behavior is showing a switch in the few days following the stage mature for the definitive host (switching from overuse to underuse). However, such a switch was not observed for the gammarids activity rate, a behavior also known to make the host less conspicuous to predators when weak. While we predicted a low activity during early development stages, then a switch to high activity, we observed general decrease in activity during the parasite ontogeny. The possible causes for this discrepancy between behaviors are discussed. All these behavioral changes were observed mostly when animals were tested in water scented by potential predators (here brown trout), suggesting condition-dependent manipulation.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.346
Type: Research article
Keywords: parasite-induced behavioral manipulation, acanthocephalan, freshwater amphipod
Rigaud, Thierry 1; Balourdet, Aude 1; Bauer, Alexandre 1

1 Université de Bourgogne, Laboratoire Biogéosciences, UMR CNRS 6282, équipe Ecologie Evolutive, 6 boulevard Gabriel, 21000 Dijon, France
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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Rigaud, Thierry; Balourdet, Aude; Bauer, Alexandre. Time-course of antipredator behavioral changes induced by the helminth Pomphorhynchus laevis in its intermediate host Gammarus pulex: the switch in manipulation according to parasite developmental stage differs between behaviors. Peer Community Journal, Volume 3 (2023), article  no. e109. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.346. https://peercommunityjournal.org/articles/10.24072/pcjournal.346/

PCI peer reviews and recommendation, and links to data, scripts, code and supplementary information: 10.24072/pci.zool.100215

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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