Publication details

Within-host competition and diversification of macro-parasites

Investor logo


Year of publication 2012
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of the Royal Society Interface
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Zoology
Keywords sympatric speciation; competitive speciation; parasite duplication;aggregation; adaptive dynamics
Description Although competitive speciation is more and more regarded as a plausible mechanism for sympatric speciation of non-parasite species, virtually no empirical or theoretical study has considered this evolutionary process to explain intra-host diversification of parasites. We expanded the theory of competitive speciation to parasite species looking at the effect of macro-parasite life history on the conditions for sympatric speciation under the so-called pleiotropic scenario. We included within-host competition in the classical Anderson and May framework assuming that individuals exploit within-host resources according to a quantitative trait. We derived the invasion fitness function of mutants considering different distributions of individuals among hosts. Although the mutant fitness depends on parameters describing the key features of macro-parasite life history, and on the relative distributions of mutant and residents in hosts, the conditions for competitive speciation of macro-parasites are exactly the same as those previously established for free-living species. As an interesting by-product, within-host competitive speciation is expected not to depend on the aggregation level of the parasites. This theoretical pattern is confirmed by comparing the speciation rate of weakly and strongly aggregated monogenean parasites.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info