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Experimental demonstration of a behavioural modification in a cyprinid fish, Rutilus rutilus (L.), induced by a parasite, Ligula intestinalis (L.)

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Behavioural changes in parasitized hosts have been experimentally investigated by comparing the swimming behaviour of roach, Rutilus rutilus, infected by the tapeworm Ligula intestinalis with that of uninfected roach when they were exposed to the same overhead heron stimulus. Before the stimulus was presented, infected fish swam close to the surface and uninfected fish were preferentially found near the bottom of the tank. The stimulus clearly induced a change in the vertical distribution of infected fish only. On the other hand, infected roach were less active than un infected fish before, during, and after the stimulus was presented. Proximate mechanisms of these behavioural changes are discussed. These behavioural differences, i.e., roach surfacing, swimming, and response to stimulus, probably favour the predation of infected roach by avian predators.

Les modifications du comportement chez des organismes parasités ont été étudiées expérimentalement par comparaison du comportement de nage chez des gardons Rutilus rutilus infectés par le cestode Ligula intestinalis et chez des gardons sains, particulièrement quand ils étaient exposés au même stimulus, un héron en surplomb. Avant l'introduction du héron, les poissons infectés nageaient près de la surface et les poissons sains semblaient préférer le fond de l'aquarium. Le stimulus a déclenché un changement dans la répartition verticale, mais seulement chez les poissons infectés. Par ailleurs, les poissons infectés étaient moins actifs que les poissons sains avant, pendant et après l'introduction du prédateur. Les mécanismes immédiats qui régissent les changements de comportement sont examinés. Ces différences de comportement, retour en surface, nage et réponse au stimulus, favorisent probablement la prédation des gardons infectés par des oiseaux prédateurs.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-04-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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