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J Parasitol. 2004 Jun;90(3):441-5.

Effects of Microphallus turgidus (Trematoda: Microphallidae) on the predation, behavior, and swimming stamina of the grass shrimp Palaemonetes pugio.

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Department of Biology and Institute of Arthropodology and Parasitology, Georgia Southern University, P.O. Box 8042, Statesboro, Georgia 30460-8042, USA.


The effect of the trematode Microphallus turgidus on its second intermediate host, the grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio, was tested. To do so, we measured the susceptibility of infected and uninfected shrimp to predation by the mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus. Shrimp behavior was compared in the presence and absence of a fish predator, and the swimming stamina and backthrust escape responses of infected and uninfected shrimp were measured. Infected shrimp were more likely to be eaten by a predator than uninfected shrimp, had lower swimming stamina, and spent more time swimming and less time motionless in the presence of a predator. There was no difference between backthrust distances traveled in response to a stimulus by either infected or uninfected shrimp. Thus, M. turgidus may increase the predation of P. pugio in the wild, possibly by affecting the swimming stamina and predator avoidance responses of the shrimp.

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