The European eel—the swim bladder–nematode system provides a new view of the invasion paradox
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It is widely assumed that the likelihood of invasion decreases with increased species richness in the recipient community. However, the invasion paradox supports a negative and a positive relationship between native biodiversity and the success of an invader. Here, we show that for a host–parasite system (Anguilla anguilla as host and Anguillicoloides crassus as parasitic invader), invasion increases with native micro- and macroparasitic species richness. In fact, about 30% of the A. crassus intensity in eels could be explained by the number of both micro- and macroparasite species. This pattern could be due to the fact that A. crassus exploits a niche (the swim bladder) that is unoccupied by native parasite species and by the Th1/Th2 trade-off between native microparasites and the invader. We conclude that the host–parasite system resistance to invasion may depend on both niche availability and the Th1/Th2 trade-off. As well, we encourage researchers to incorporate native parasite richness as a risk factor in epidemiological models of A. crassus.
KeywordsSpecies Richness Parasite Community Akaike Information Criterion Correct Parasite Invasion Parasite Diversity
This work was supported by Fundación Séneca, Coordination Centre for Research (grant 04538/GERM/06). The authors wish to thank E. Romero for his assistance with the eel sampling and D. Riquelme for his technical assistance with parasite processing. E. Serrano is supported by the Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral programme of the MICINN, Spain.
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