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Parasitology. 2000 Mar;120 ( Pt 3):313-8.

Predation of beetles (Tenebrio molitor) infected with tapeworms (Hymenolepis diminuta): a note of caution for the manipulation hypothesis.

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  • 1Wellcome Trust Centre for the Epidemiology of Infectious Disease, University of Oxford, UK.


Previous laboratory studies have indicated that tenebrionid beetles infected with Hymenolepis diminuta display behavioural alterations. These are assumed to increase the likelihood of this intermediate host being predated by the Rattus sp. definitive host, and hence provide support for the Manipulation Hypothesis. We tested this hypothesis by both assessing beetle behaviour and predation rates in semi-naturalistic environments. Behavioural assays showed that infected beetles were more often exposed (not concealed under boxes) than uninfected beetles. However, there were no differences in predation rates between infected and uninfected beetles. We discuss this in terms of the historical and evolutionary contexts under which such altered behaviours could evolve and their implications for the Manipulation Hypothesis.

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