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Disease and the Extended Phenotype



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Disease and the Extended Phenotype Parasites Control Host Performance and Survival through Induced Changes in Body Plan Brett A Goodman1 2 Pieter T J Johnson1 1 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of Colorado Boulder Colorado United States of America 2 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences University of Adelaide Adelaide South Australia Australia Abstract Background By definition parasites harm their hosts However some forms of parasite induced alterations increase parasite transmission between hosts such that manipulated hosts can be considered extensions of the parasite s phenotype While well accepted in principle surprisingly few studies have quantified how parasite manipulations alter host performance and survival under field and laboratory conditions Methodology Principal Findings By interfering with limb development the trematode Ribeiroia ondatrae causes particularly severe morphological alterations within amphibian hosts that provide an ideal system to evaluate parasiteinduced changes in phenotype Here we coupled laboratory performance trials with a capture mark recapture study of 1388 Pacific chorus frogs Pseudacris regilla to quantify the effects of parasite induced malformations on host locomotion foraging and survival Malformations which affected 50 of metamorphosing frogs in nature caused dramatic reductions in all measures of organismal function Malformed frogs exhibited significantly shorter jumping distances 41 reduction slower swimming speeds 37 reduction reduced endurance 66 reduction and lower foraging success relative to infected hosts without malformations Furthermore while normal and malformed individuals had comparable survival within predator free exclosures deformed frogs in natural populations had 22 lower biweekly survival than normal frogs and rarely recruited to the adult population over a two year period Conclusions Significance Our results highlight the ability of parasites to deeply alter multiple dimensions of host



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