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Parasitology. 1997 Jul;115 ( Pt 1):105-10.

Impairment of the chemical defence of the beetle, Tenebrio molitor, by metacestodes (cysticeroids) of the tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta.

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Department of Biology, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, USA.


The defensive glands of beetles, Tenebrio molitor, infected with metacestodes (cysticercoids) of Hymenolepis diminuta are everted less frequently upon stimulation, and contain less toluquinone (methylbenzoquinone) and m-cresol, than glands of uninfected controls. These differences, as shown in predation trials with wild rats, increase the likelihood that both cysticercoids and beetles will be ingested by the tapeworm's definitive host. This is the first documented case of a parasite inhibiting the chemical defence of an intermediate host, and one of only a few reports of parasite-induced manipulation of host biology supported by empirical evidence implicating facilitated parasite transmission between host species.

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