The Effect of Parasitism on Host Fecundity Is Dependent on Temperature in a Cockroach-Acanthocephalan System

J Parasitol. 2004 Aug;90(4):673-7. doi: 10.1645/GE-98R1.

Abstract

The fitness of infected organisms can vary greatly depending on the temperature at which they find themselves. Understanding the role of temperature in the fitness of infected organisms can be crucial to population studies, epidemiological studies, and when screening for biological control agents. We measured the effect of parasitism on host survival and reproduction at 4 constant temperatures using the acanthocephalan parasite Moniliformis moniliformis and its intermediate host, the cockroach Supella longipalpa. Infection did not affect cockroach survival at any temperature. Infection had a negative impact on cockroach fecundity but only at higher temperatures (28 and 31 C) and only later in infection (>20 days postinfection). At lower temperatures, infected and uninfected cockroaches had similar fecundities throughout the duration of the experiment (120 days). This study, along with previous studies, suggests that researchers would do well to consider environmental variables when exploring the effects of parasitism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Blattellidae / parasitology*
  • Blattellidae / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Male
  • Moniliformis / physiology*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Random Allocation
  • Survival Analysis
  • Temperature*