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Limited impacts of chronic eye fluke infection on the reproductive success of a fish host

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Rok publikování 2020
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Přírodovědecká fakulta

Klíčová slova Diplostomum; European bitterling; nuptial coloration; parasite impact; reproduction; respirometry
Popis Parasitic infections may affect the reproductive success of the host either directly, through behavioural modification, or indirectly, by altering their reproductive investment in response to infection. We determined the effects of infection with the eye fluke Diplostomum pseudospathaceum (Trematoda) on the reproductive traits of European bitterling (Rhodeus amarus, Cyprinidae), an intermediate fish host with a resource-based mating system. Male bitterling infected by Diplostomum exhibited a larger but less pronounced red eye spot (sexually selected signal) than control males, suggesting that infected males were less preferred by females. The frequency of female ovulation and number of offspring were comparable between the infected and the control group, although there was a 1-2 week delay in the peak of ovulation and offspring production in infected fish, which is known to coincide with higher juvenile mortality. Chronic eye fluke infection had minimal metabolic costs (measured as oxygen consumption) and, consistent with these results, reproductive activity did not differ between infected and control fish in an experimental test of intersexual selection. Overall, the impact of eye fluke infection on the reproduction of European bitterling was limited. We consider the potential effect of favourable conditions during experiments (abundant food, access to spawning substrate and lack of predators and co-infections) on experimental outcomes and recognize that the effects of chronic eye fluke infection in natural conditions might be more pronounced.
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