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Size matters for lice on birds: Coevolutionary allometry of host and parasite body size

Size matters for lice on birds: Coevolutionary allometry of host and parasite body size

Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution 71(2): 421-431

Body size is one of the most fundamental characteristics of all organisms. It influences physiology, morphology, behavior, and even interspecific interactions such as those between parasites and their hosts. Host body size influences the magnitude and variability of parasite size according to Harrison's rule (HR: positive relationship between host and parasite body sizes) and Poulin's Increasing Variance Hypothesis (PIVH: positive relationship between host body size and the variability of parasite body size). We analyzed parasite-host body size allometry for 581 species of avian lice (∼15% of known diversity) and their hosts. We applied phylogenetic generalized least squares (PGLS) methods to account for phylogenetic nonindependence controlling for host and parasite phylogenies separately and variance heterogeneity. We tested HR and PIVH for the major families of avian lice (Ricinidae, Menoponidae, Philopteridae), and for distinct ecological guilds within Philopteridae. Our data indicate that most families and guilds of avian lice follow both HR and PIVH; however, ricinids did not follow PIVH and the "body lice" guild of philopterid lice did not follow HR or PIVH. We discuss mathematical and ecological factors that may be responsible for these patterns, and we discuss the potential pervasiveness of these relationships among all parasites on Earth.

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Accession: 058863434

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27925167

DOI: 10.1111/evo.13147

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