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Oecologia. 2003 Mar;134(4):479-86. Epub 2003 Jan 23.

Effects of diet and Echinostoma revolutum infection on energy allocation patterns in juvenile Lymnaea elodes snails.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA. gregorys@bilbo.bio.purdue.edu

Abstract

Resource allocation strategies may be influenced by both biotic and abiotic factors. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of both parasitism and diet quality on the growth, reproduction, and survival of the pond snail, Lymnaea elodes. In addition, we assessed parasite growth and reproduction. High-protein (high diet) or low-protein diets (low diet) were fed to juvenile L. elodes snails that were either exposed or sham-exposed to the castrating trematode, Echinostoma revolutum. Host growth was assessed weekly; reproduction and survival were recorded every 2-3 days. We estimated parasite development as the time to parasite release from the host (patency), and parasite reproduction as the number of larvae shed from infected snails at two time points. Diet and infection status had significant effects on snail growth. Infected snails produced few eggs and tended to grow to larger sizes than uninfected snails regardless of diet. In contrast, exposed-uninfected individuals displayed diet-dependent patterns of growth and reproduction. On the high-protein diet, uninfected and exposed-uninfected snails exhibited similar patterns of growth and reproduction, whereas in the low-diet treatment, exposed-uninfected snails exhibited reduced growth and delayed reproduction relative to uninfected individuals. Survival differed among treatments in the latter stages of the study with infected snails exhibiting reduced survival relative to snails from other treatments. Moreover, infected low-diet snails exhibited lower survival than infected high-diet snails. Parasite development and reproduction did not appear to be directly influenced by the quality of host diet. Results from this study suggest that energy allocation patterns are context-dependent in juvenile snails, influenced by parasite exposure and diet quality. Furthermore, parasite reproduction appears to depend more on host size than on the quality of host diet.

PMID:
12647119
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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