Evol Ecol Res 9: 947-958 (2007)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Co-infection, kin selection, and the rate of host exploitation by a parasitic nematode

Farrah Bashey,* Levi T. Morran‡ and Curtis M. Lively

Department of Biology, Indiana University, 1001 E. 3rd Street, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: fbasheyv@indiana.edu


Hypothesis: Under exploitative competition, unrelated parasites should reproduce at a faster rate than related parasites.

Organisms: The parasitic nematode Steinernema carpocapsae and the insect host Galleria mellonella.

Methods: We created ten replicate lines each of high-migration (unrelated) and low-migration (related) nematode populations, and allowed them to evolve for 20 host passages.

Results: We found no difference between treatments in the number of juvenile nematodes produced. However, juvenile nematodes began to emerge significantly sooner in the low-migration treatment, suggesting a faster rate of host exploitation. Host mortality rate was also higher in the low-migration lines.

Conclusion: The results were contrary to predictions based on exploitative competition among the nematodes.

Keywords: competition, evolution of virulence, experimental evolution, kin selection, Steinernema carpocapsae, Xenorhabdus nematophila.

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