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Spatiotemporal heterogeneity in recruitment of larval parasites to shore crab intermediate hosts: the influence of shorebird definitive hosts

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Abstract:

Parasitism is a major biotic determinant of animal population dynamics and community structure. Temporal and spatial heterogeneity in parasitism is commonly observed in intermediate host populations. Understanding the causes of temporal and spatial variation in the recruitment of parasites is crucial if we are to manage host populations and animal communities effectively. Here, the temporal and spatial dynamics of Profilicollis antarcticus and Profilicollis novaezelandensis (Acanthocephala) infections in three species of shore crabs (Macrophthalmus hirtipes, Hemigrapsus edwardsii, and Hemigrapsus crenulatus) are examined in relation to the distribution and abundance of shorebird definitive hosts. Temporal patterns of infection were observed in M. hirtipes but not the other two species. Spatial heterogeneity in recruitment of acanthocephalan larvae to M. hirtipes and H. edwardsii populations was found both within and between locations. Weak evidence is found that infection levels in crab populations are related to the distribution and abundance of shorebird hosts both temporally and spatially. In this system, abiotic factors seem to be at least as important in determining how infection levels vary in time and space as the input of parasite eggs from bird definitive hosts.

Le parasitisme est un facteur déterminant biotique majeur de la dynamique de population et de la structure de communauté chez les animaux. L'hétérogénéité spatiale et temporelle du parasitisme s'observe communément chez les populations d'hôtes intermédiaires. La compréhension des causes de la variation spatiale et temporelle du recrutement des parasites est essentielle pour la gestion efficace des populations d'hôtes et des communautés animales. Nous examinons la dynamique temporelle et spatiale des infections de Profilicollis antarcticus et de P. novaezelandensis (Acanthocephala) chez trois espèces de crabes littoraux (Macrophthalmus hirtipes, Hemigrapsus edwardsii et Hemigrapsus crenulatus) en fonction de la répartition et de l'abondance des hôtes définitifs, des oiseaux de rivage. Il y a des patterns temporels d'infection chez M. hirtipes, mais pas chez les deux autres espèces. Il existe une hétérogénéité spatiale dans le recrutement des larves d'acanthocéphales chez les populations de M. hirtipes et H. edwardsii, tant entre les localités que dans chacune des localités. Il y a de faibles indications que la gravité des infections dans les populations de crabes est en relation, tant temporelle que spatiale, avec la répartition et l'abondance des oiseaux de rivage qui servent d'hôtes. Dans ce système, les facteurs abiotiques semblent avoir autant d'importance que la production d'oeufs de parasites provenant des hôtes définitifs aviaires dans la détermination de la variation dans la gravité des infections dans le temps et l'espace.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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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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