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Journal Article

Threat-sensitive feeding strategy of immature sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in response to recent experimental infection with the cestode Schistocephalus solidus.

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56571

Aeschlimann,  P.
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56703

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

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

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

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Citation

Aeschlimann, P., Häberli, M., & Milinski, M. (2000). Threat-sensitive feeding strategy of immature sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in response to recent experimental infection with the cestode Schistocephalus solidus. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 49(1), 1-7.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-DF37-A
Abstract
Threat-sensitive decision-making might be changed in response to a parasitic infection that impairs future reproduction. Infected animals should take more risk to gain energy to speed up their growth to achieve early reproduction and/or to strengthen their immune response. To avoid correlational evidence, we experimentally infected and sham-infected randomly selected immature three-spined sticklebacks with the cestode Schistocephalus solidus. For 7 weeks we determined the threat-sensitive foraging decisions and growth of individual sticklebacks in the presence of a live pike (Esox lucius). The experimenters were blind with respect to the infection status of the fish. In contrast to previous studies, our recently infected fish should have been almost unconstrained by the parasite and thus have been able to adopt an appropriate life history strategy. We found a strong predator effect for both infected and uninfected fish: the sticklebacks' risk-sensitive foraging strategy resulted in significantly reduced growth under predation risk. Infected fish did not grow significantly faster under predation risk than uninfected fish. Since infected fish consumed much less prey in the presence of the predator than did infected fish in its absence, they obviously did not use the opportunity to maximize their growth rate to reach reproduction before the parasite impairs it.