Evol Ecol Res 7: 1191-1199 (2005)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Local adaptation in a crustacean parasite–molluscan host interaction: a field experiment

Mari Saarinen1* and Jouni Taskinen2

1Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, PO Box 35, FI-40014 Jyväskylä and  2Department of Ecology, University of Joensuu, PO Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: marisaar@bytl.jyu.fi


Hypothesis: The Red Queen hypothesis predicts that parasites are locally adapted to their most common host genotypes.

Organisms: The parasitic copepod Paraergasilus rylovi and its host, the freshwater clam Anodonta piscinalis.

Sites of research: Lake Saravesi and River Kuusaankoski, which are 4 km apart.

Methods: We expelled parasites from wild hosts. Then we performed a reciprocal transplant experiment: we returned hosts to their natural environment at two transplant sites, and allowed clams to become infected naturally.

Results: At both sites, local hosts, the home-clams, harboured more P. rylovi than the away-clams. In addition, at both transplant sites the reproductive performance of the parasite (proportion of females carrying egg sacs) was higher in the home-clams. The results indicate that P. rylovi is both genetically specialized and locally adapted to its host population.

Keywords: Anodonta piscinalis, Ergasilidae, freshwater, host–parasite interactions, local adaptation, Paraergasilus rylovi, Unionidae.

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