The three-spined stickleback-Schistocephalus solidus system: an experimental model for investigating host-parasite interactions in fish

Parasitology. 2010 Mar;137(3):411-24. doi: 10.1017/S0031182009991466. Epub 2009 Oct 16.


Plerocercoids of the pseudophyllidean cestode Schistocephalus solidus infect the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus, with important consequences for the biology of host fish. Techniques for culturing the parasite in vitro and generating infective stages that can be used to infect sticklebacks experimentally have been developed, and the system is increasingly used as a laboratory model for investigating aspects of host-parasite interactions. Recent experimental laboratory studies have focused on the immune responses of hosts to infection, the consequences of infection for the growth and reproductive development of host fish and the effects of infection on host behaviour. Here we introduce the host and the parasite, review the major findings of these recent experimental infection studies and identify further aspects of host parasite interactions that might be investigated using the system.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cestoda / physiology*
  • Cestode Infections / parasitology
  • Cestode Infections / veterinary*
  • Fish Diseases / parasitology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Smegmamorpha / parasitology*