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Parasitology. 2005 Sep;131(Pt 3):347-54.

Microphallids in Gammarus insensibilis Stock, 1966 from a Black Sea lagoon: host response to infection.

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Department of Biodiversity, Central Laboratory of General Ecology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2 Gagarin Street, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria.


We examined the patterns of parasite melanization in Gammarus insensibilis using data on microphallids from Pomorie Lagoon (Black Sea) in the light of 3 predictions associated with host survival: (i) hosts invest more in defence in an environment where the likelihood for infection is higher; (ii) multiple immune challenges exhaust host reserves and result in decreased melanization rates in older hosts; (iii) host immune response is directed against the cerebral metacercariae of Microphallus papillorobustus that alter amphipod behaviour and are most detrimental to the host. G. insensibilis was capable of melanizing the metacercariae of all four species of trematodes found to be hosted by the amphipods. The frequency of melanization and mean abundance of melanized metacercariae were substantially higher than those observed in the same amphipod-gammarid system on the French Mediterranean coast. However, the rate of melanization was low and showed a significant decrease with amphipod size. Although the 4 species were differentially melanized, the host response was largely directed against Microphallus hoffmanni and M. subdolum. We suggest that (i) the lower melanization efficiency with age is due to the mode of infection, probably leading to loss of haemolymph and monopolization of the defence resources for wound healing and (ii) in the French system, host response focuses on the most prevalent and abundant species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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