Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 69, Issue 10, pp 1723–1730

Changes in host behaviour caused by immature larvae of the eye fluke: evidence supporting the predation suppression hypothesis

  • Mikhail Gopko
  • Victor N. Mikheev
  • Jouni Taskinen
Original Article

Abstract

The manipulation of host behaviour by the not-fully-developed, immature larvae of trophically transmitted parasites is attracting growing interest. A theoretical model predicts that while facilitation of host predation risk is advantageous for fully developed parasite larvae, the immature ones should make hosts less vulnerable to the predators (predation suppression hypothesis). However, there is still little evidence of such manipulation by non-infective parasite stages. We tested whether immature trematode larvae of the eye fluke, Diplostomum pseudospathaceum, a common parasite of many freshwater fishes, enhance the anti-predatory responses of their host (Oncorhynchus mykiss). To test the predation suppression hypothesis, we experimentally infected young-of-the-year (YOY) rainbow trout and studied the influence of pre-infective metacercariae of the eye fluke on the anti-predator behaviour of the fish. Fish activity, depth preference and the ability to avoid simulated predation were evaluated in the experiments. Infected fish—harbouring a moderate number of immature metacercariae—were significantly less vulnerable to simulated predation (dip-net catch) and less active (horizontal move), but their swimming depth (vertical position) was not changed when compared with the control fish harbouring no larvae. Our findings suggest that immature larvae of D. pseudospathaceum induce changes in host behaviour that can protect them from predation, thereby supporting the predation suppression hypothesis and indicating that manipulations caused by immature parasites may play an important role in modulating predator–prey interactions.

Keywords

Diplostomum Fish behaviour Host–parasite interaction Immature parasites Parasitic manipulations Rainbow trout 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikhail Gopko
    • 1
  • Victor N. Mikheev
    • 1
  • Jouni Taskinen
    • 2
  1. 1.A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Laboratory for Behaviour of Lower VertebratesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Department of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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