Effects of Acanthocephalus sp. (Acanthocephala: Echinorhynchidae) on the body size and reproduction of isopods (Asellus hilgendorfi)
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Isopods Asellus hilgendorfi were collected from a small lake in northern Japan and examined to determine whether their body size and reproduction were affected by infection with larval acanthocephalans (Acanthocephalus sp.). Seasonal changes in the breeding ratio of isopods and the prevalence of larval acanthocephalan infection showed a reverse trend. Acanthocephalan larvae occurred mainly in males and immature females and were rarely found in mature females. In late immature females, the body size, as indicated by the width of the pleotelson, of infected isopods was significantly larger than that of uninfected ones. These results suggest that acanthocephalans can prevent female isopods from attaining sexual maturity and increasing their body size.
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