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Effects of the acanthocephalan parasite Echinorhynchus truttae on the feeding ecology of Gammarus pulex (Crustacea: Amphipoda)

  • Nina J. Fielding (a1), Calum MacNeil (a1), Jaimie T. A. Dick (a1), Robert W. Elwood (a1), Gillian E. Riddell (a1) and Alison M. Dunn (a2)...

Abstract

The amphipod Gammarus pulex is an intermediate host to the acanthocephalan fish parasite Echinorhynchus truttae. Gammarus pulex has a wide trophic repertoire, feeding as a herbivore, detritivore and predator. In this study an examination was made of the effects of E. truttae parasitism on components of the G. pulex diet: stream-conditioned leaves, dead chironomids and live juvenile isopods Asellus aquaticus. Over 21 days, parasitism had no effect on daily feeding rates or wet weights of G. pulex fed on leaves or chironomids. Parasitism had a significant effect on the number of A. aquaticus killed by G. pulex, with parasitized individuals killing significantly fewer than their unparasitized counterparts. In addition, unparasitized amphipods killed all size classes of A. aquaticus indiscriminately, whereas parasitized animals tended to kill the smaller size classes. The impacts of the parasitism of G. pulex throughout the wider freshwater community are discussed.

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Corresponding author

All correspondence to: J. T. A. Dick. E-mail: j.dick@qub.ac.uk

Keywords

Effects of the acanthocephalan parasite Echinorhynchus truttae on the feeding ecology of Gammarus pulex (Crustacea: Amphipoda)

  • Nina J. Fielding (a1), Calum MacNeil (a1), Jaimie T. A. Dick (a1), Robert W. Elwood (a1), Gillian E. Riddell (a1) and Alison M. Dunn (a2)...

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