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Trends Parasitol. 2001 Aug;17(8):363-8.

Host fecundity reduction: a strategy for damage limitation?

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Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology, School of Life Sciences, Huxley Building, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, UK ST5 5BG.


Host fecundity reduction is a life-history trait that is commonly exhibited in parasitic associations. It is particularly prevalent in female invertebrate hosts that invest heavily in egg production during a relatively short life span. Here, Hilary Hurd uses examples of parasitized insects and trematode infections of snails to consider the evolutionary significance of this response to infection. Studies of host egg production and reports of the physiological mechanisms underlying reduction of host reproductive success are used to evaluate the hypotheses that fecundity reduction might be a by-product of infection, or an adaptive strategy on the part of parasite or host.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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