, Volume 133, Issue 2, pp 261–266

Cockroach hosts in thermal gradients suppress parasite development

  • Janice Moore
  • Michael Freehling
Behavioural Ecology

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-002-1030-5

Cite this article as:
Moore, J. & Freehling, M. Oecologia (2002) 133: 261. doi:10.1007/s00442-002-1030-5


Cockroaches parasitized by the temperature-sensitive acanthocephalan Moniliformis moniliformis exhibit a variety of behavioral alterations, so we asked if parasitized cockroaches defended themselves against the parasite with altered thermal choices. We tested the null hypothesis that cockroaches infected with M. moniliformis do not alter temperature choice in two ways: by direct observation and, indirectly, by observation of parasite development after a prolonged developmental period. When we compared acanthocephalan development in cockroaches that were allowed to use thermal gradients to acanthocephalan development in cockroaches held at constant temperatures, we found that in two cockroach species (Supella longipalpa and Blatta orientalis), acanthocephalan development was greatly retarded, a result that is consistent with the cockroaches spending time in cold temperatures. Parasitized animals exhibit behavioral alterations that can have profound effects on parasite transmission and host well-being; neither the beneficiaries of those alterations nor the alterations themselves are easily predictable.

Blatta orientalis Moniliformis moniliformis Parasitism Supella longipalpa Temperature choice 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janice Moore
    • 1
  • Michael Freehling
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology Department, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA

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