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The effects of parasitism on energy flow through laboratory shrimp populations

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I quantified the effects of parasitism by the isopod Probopyrus pandalicola on energy flow through the host Palaemonetes pugio by comparing secondary production, metabolism, ingestion, and egestion by unparasitized laboratory shrimp populations to the same parameters for parasitized groups during 10 months. The effects of parasitism on host growth and metabolism vary from month to month. Temperature, season, host age, sex, and reproductive condition affect energetics for host-parasite systems. Probopyrus pandalicola has little effect on host assimilation efficiency. However, tissue growth efficiences during most study months were higher for control shrimp than parasitized shrimp. These differences between groups were of lesser magnitude when parasite production was considered in the calculations. Trophic level energy intake efficiency for parasites was of the order of 6 to 10% throughout much of the study—the highest values were calculated during the parasites' reproductive months. Through parasitic castration, P. pandalicola significantly affects host energetics. Significantly, parasite reproduction was often of the same magnitude as reproduction by unparasitized hosts, although parasite biomass accounts for only about 4% of the total host-parasite system biomass.

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Communicated by M.R. Tripp, Newark

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Anderson, G. The effects of parasitism on energy flow through laboratory shrimp populations. Mar. Biol. 42, 239–251 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00397748

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  • Biomass
  • Assimilation
  • Condition Affect
  • Energy Flow
  • Intake Efficiency