Superparasitism and Population Regulation of the Mosquito-Parasitic Mermithid Nematodes Romanomermis iyengari and Strelkovimermis spiculatus

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Journal of Nematology

Society of Nematologists

Subject: Life Sciences

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ISSN: 0022-300X
eISSN: 2640-396X

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VOLUME 49 , ISSUE 3 (September 2017) > List of articles

Superparasitism and Population Regulation of the Mosquito-Parasitic Mermithid Nematodes Romanomermis iyengari and Strelkovimermis spiculatus

MANAR SANAD / JENNIFER S. SUN / MUHAMMAD S. M. SHAMSELDEAN / YI WANG / RANDY GAUGLER *

Keywords : heart rate, host selection, population regulation, Romanomermis iyengari, Strelkovimermis spiculatus, superparasitism

Citation Information : Journal of Nematology. Volume 49, Issue 3, Pages 316-320, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/jofnem-2017-078

License : (CC BY 4.0)

Received Date : 10-April-2017 / Published Online: 05-December-2017

ARTICLE

ABSTRACT

Superparasitism is a common phenomenon in mosquito-parasitic mermithid nematodes. Multiple nematodes are needed in a single host to produce males. Host selection behavior and intraspecific competition among Romanomermis iyengari and Strelkovimermis spiculatus were investigated against their host, Culex pipiens pipiens in laboratory experiments. In a choice assay between previously infected and uninfected host larvae, infectious preparasites of both nematode species could distinguish not only between infected and uninfected hosts, but even between different parasite loads in showing a strong preference for uninfected hosts or hosts with a low parasite load. Host heart rate declined briefly immediately after parasitism. Superparasitism resulted in increased parasite mortality. Scramble competition within mosquito larvae for limited host nutrients, coupled with a skewed sex ratio favoring males, is assumed to lead to parasite population decline and subsequently toward host-parasite population equilibrium. The ability of mermithid preparasites to accurately assess parasite load likely plays an important role in host population dynamics and regulation.

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