+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
EurekaMag Most Shared ContentMost Shared
EurekaMag PDF Full Text ContentPDF Full Text
+ PDF Full Text
Request PDF Full TextRequest PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on FacebookFollow on Facebook
Follow on TwitterFollow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedInFollow on LinkedIn

+ Translate

To eject or to abandon? Life history traits of hosts and parasites interact to influence the fitness payoffs of alternative anti-parasite strategies

To eject or to abandon? Life history traits of hosts and parasites interact to influence the fitness payoffs of alternative anti-parasite strategies

Journal of Evolutionary Biology 19(5): 1585-1594

Hosts either tolerate avian brood parasitism or reject it by ejecting parasitic eggs, as seen in most rejecter hosts of common cuckoos, Cuculus canorus, or by abandoning parasitized clutches, as seen in most rejecter hosts of brown-headed cowbirds, Molothrus ater. What explains consistent variation between alternative rejection behaviours of hosts within the same species and across species when exposed to different types of parasites? Life history theory predicts that when parasites decrease the fitness of host offspring, but not the future reproductive success of host adults, optimal clutch size should decrease. Consistent with this prediction, evolutionarily old cowbird hosts, but not cuckoo hosts, have lower clutch sizes than related rarely- or newly parasitized species. We constructed a mathematical model to calculate the fitness payoffs of egg ejector vs. nest abandoner hosts to determine if various aspects of host life history traits and brood parasites' virulence on adult and young host fitness differentially influence the payoffs of alternative host defences. These calculations showed that in general egg ejection was a superior anti-parasite strategy to nest abandonment. Yet, increasing parasitism rates and increasing fitness values of hosts' eggs in both currently parasitized and future replacement nests led to switch points in fitness payoffs in favour of nest abandonment. Nonetheless, nest abandonment became selectively more favourable only at lower clutch sizes and only when hosts faced parasitism by a cowbird- rather than a cuckoo-type brood parasite. We suggest that, in addition to evolutionary lag and gape-size limitation, our estimated fitness differences based on life history trait variation provide new insights for the consistent differences observed in the anti-parasite rejection strategies between many cuckoo- and cowbird-hosts.

(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 012696800

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 16910987

DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2006.01124.x

Related references

Endohelminths in Bird Hosts from Northern California and an Analysis of the Role of Life History Traits on Parasite Richness. Journal of Parasitology 102(2): 199-207, 2015

Alternative life-history and transmission strategies in a parasite: first come, first served?. Parasitology 132(Pt 1): 135-141, 2006

Host-parasite coevolution: comparative evidence for covariation of life history traits in primates and oxyurid parasites. Proceedings. Biological Sciences 264(1379): 285-289, 1997

Influence of resistant honey bee hosts on the life history of the parasite Acarapis woodi. Experimental & Applied Acarology 20(6): 313-322, 1996

Competitive growth strategies in intermediate hosts: experimental tests of a parasite life-history model using the cestode, Schistocephalus solidus. Evolutionary Ecology 20(1): 39-57, 2006

Life history traits interact with landscape composition to influence population dynamics of a terrestrial arthropod: A simulation study. Ecoscience 11(1): 64-73, 2004

Do different parasite species interact in their effects on host fitness? A case study on parasites of the amphipod Paracalliope fluviatilis. Parasitology 138(9): 1176-1182, 2011

Parental and offspring larval diets interact to influence life-history traits and infection with dengue virus in Aedes aegypti. Royal Society Open Science 5(7): 180539-180539, 2018

Low frequency of Shiny Cowbird parasitism on scarlet-headed blackbirds: Anti-parasite adaptations or nonspecific host life-history traits?. Journal of Avian Biology 30(1): 15-22, 1999

Measuring fitness heritability: Life history traits versus morphological traits in humans. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 164(2): 321-330, 2017

Rapid experimental shift in host use traits of a polyphagous marine herbivore reveals fitness costs on alternative hosts. Evolutionary Ecology 25(6): 1335-1355, 2011

Food availability and parasite infection influence the correlated responses of life history traits to selection for age at pupation in the mosquito Aedes aegypti. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 12(4): 760-769, 1999

Immigration of susceptible hosts triggers the evolution of alternative parasite defence strategies. Proceedings. Biological Sciences 283(1837): -, 2016

Do parasites adopt different strategies in different intermediate hosts? Host size, not host species, influences Coitocaecum parvum (Trematoda) life history strategy, size and egg production. Parasitology 140(2): 275-283, 2013

Ascertainment of adequate alternative hosts for the support of trichogramma semblidis auriv. hymenoptera trichogrammatidae as an egg parasite of the grape vine moth ii. host influence on the quality of the parasite. Journal of Applied Entomology 110(4): 346-352, 1990