Density-independent resource limitation and the transmission of an insect pathogen
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The effects of resource limitation on the transmission of a pathogen were explored. Resource limitation was achieved by replacing part of the host’s diet with an indigestible bulking agent. Populations of the pyrallid moth, Plodia interpunctella, raised on high- and low-quality food regimes were exposed to a granulosis virus. Moths subjected to a lower food quality were more likely to become infected, despite the fact that in previous studies, individuals showed no increased susceptibility when exposed individually to the virus. This effect is suggested to be due to a higher exposure to the pathogen due to a faster feeding rate and longer developmental period. The implications of resource levels to the population dynamics of host-pathogen interactions are discussed.
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