Evol Ecol Res 10: 95-103 (2008)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Experimental test for a co-evolutionary hotspot in a host–parasite interaction

Curtis M. Lively,1* Lynda F. Delph,1 Mark F. Dybdahl2 and Jukka Jokela3

1Department of Biology, Indiana University, 1001 East Third Street, Bloomington, IN 47405-3700, USA,  2School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4236, USA and  3EAWAG, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland

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


Observation: Two independent experiments have shown that freshwater snails (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) collected from the shallow-water margins of a lake are more susceptible to infection by a trematode worm (Microphallus sp.) than snails collected from deeper habitats.

Question: Is this cline in susceptibility caused by (1) inherent differences in susceptibility, or (2) the presence of a co-evolutionary hotspot in the shallow water?

Organisms: The freshwater New Zealand snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, and its common parasite, Microphallus sp. (Digenea, Trematoda).

Methods: We exposed snails collected from shallow-water (< 1 m), mid-water (1–3 m), and deep-water (4–6 m) habitats to parasites dissected from snails sampled from the shallow and deep habitats. We also exposed random samples of this same set of snails to parasites collected from two remote lakes, which have no co-evolutionary history with the Lake Alexandrina snails.

Results: Snails collected from the shallow habitat were more susceptible to infection regardless of the source of infection, which is inconsistent with the co-evolutionary hotspot hypothesis. In addition, parasites from Lake Alexandrina were more infective to snails collected from Lake Alexandrina than from the two allopatric lake populations, and the shallow-water source of parasites was more infective than the deep-water source of parasites.

Keywords: co-evolution, local adaptation, Microphallus, parasitism, parthenogenesis, ploidy, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, Trematoda.

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