Host-parasite interactions in sympatric and allopatric populations of European bitterling


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Year of publication 2011
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Parasitology Research
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Zoology
Keywords European bitterling; Rhodeus amarus; parasite; sympatric; allopatric; local adaptation; resistance; experiment
Description Susceptibility to parasite infection was examined in a field experiment for four populations of 0+ juvenile European bitterling (Rhodeus amarus): one sympatric to local parasite fauna, one allopatric, and two hybrid populations. Significantly higher parasite abundance was recorded in the allopatric bitterling population, suggesting a maladaptation of parasites to their sympatric host. Type of parasite life cycle played an important role in host-parasite interactions. While the abundance of allogenic species between populations was comparable, a significant difference was found in abundance of autogenic parasite species between fish populations, with the allopatric population more infected. These results correspond with a prediction of higher dispersion probability and higher gene flow among geographically distant populations of allogenic species as compared to autogenic species. Increased susceptibility to parasites that do not occur within the natural host’s geographical distribution was found in the allopatric host, but only for autogenic species. A difference in infection susceptibility was detected among populations of early-hatched bitterling exposed to infection during a period of high parasite abundance and richness in the environment. Differences in parasite abundance and species diversity among populations diminished, however, with increasing time of exposure. No difference was found within late-hatched populations, probably due to a lower probability of infection in late-hatched cohorts.
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