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Optimal growth strategies of larval helminths in their intermediate hosts

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56824

Michaud,  M.
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56825

Milinski,  Manfred
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Parker, G. A., Chubb, J. C., Roberts, G. N., Michaud, M., & Milinski, M. (2003). Optimal growth strategies of larval helminths in their intermediate hosts. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 16(1), 47-54.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-DC21-0
Abstract
We consider optimal growth of larval stages in complex parasite life cycles where there is no constraint because of host immune responses. Our model predicts an individual's asymptotic size in its intermediate host, with and without competition from conspecific larvae. We match observed variations in larval growth patterns in pseudophyllid cestodes with theoretical predictions of our model. If survival of the host is vital for transmission, larvae should reduce asymptotic size as intensity increases, to avoid killing the host. The life history strategy (LHS) model predicts a size reduction <1/intensity, thus increasing the parasite burden on the host. We discuss whether body size of competing parasites is an evolved LHS or simply reflects resource constraints ( RC) on growth fixed by the host, leading to a constant total burden with intensity. Growth under competition appears comparable with "the tragedy of the commons'', much analysed in social sciences. Our LHS prediction suggests that evolution generates a solution that seems cooperative but is actually selfish.