That’s the main finding we report in a new Biology Letters pub with collaborators Emlyn Resetaritz and Mark Torchin. Remarkably, this seems to be the first robust documentation for any animal society of a spatial relationship between allocation to a specific caste and the supposed selective agent. Again showing the power of using trematodes as model systems to tackle fundamental ecological, evolutionary, & behavioral questions. Congrats to Emlyn who did
In a new collaborative paper, we present the distribution of the brain-infecting host-behavior-modifying Euhaplorchis californiensis (Euha) parasite along the antero-posterior axis of California killifish brains. We find that, although Euha metacercariae cover the whole brain, they are really dense in two areas. The density peaks provide clues to the route of parasite entry into the brain and the neurological mechanisms underlying the parasite’s manipulation of host behavior. This work was
It took a while, but Ryan finally completed the guide to the trematodes infecting the California horn snail. Although these parasites have been subject to a large amount of taxonomic, biological, evolutionary, and ecological research–and we’ve even proposed to use them as ecological indicator tools–we’ve lacked a satisfactory guide. This should help fill the void for a while. It’s out at Zootaxa: https://www.mapress.com/j/zt/article/view/zootaxa.4711.3.3 .
In a new lab publication, out today in Proceedings of the Royal Society–Biology, we report our finding that the Metabolic Theory of Ecology accurately predicts the specific increase in total ectoparasite load across birds of different sizes. We also found what appears to be a novel macroecological pattern–a shift in dominance from mites to lice moving from smaller to larger birds–that was only apparent when using total ectoparasite biomass or
In another paper from Cat’s PhD (congrats!) published in Scientific Reports, we document that when hermaphroditic Chthamalus fissus barnacles invest in female reproduction, it comes with greater risk of being infected by the ovary-eating isopod parasite Hemioniscus balani. In fact, this parasite may partly explain our surprising finding–which is contrary to standard theoretical expectations–that the largest barnacles were not investing at all in female function. For the full story, see