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Differences between populations in host manipulation by the tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus – is there local adaptation?

  • Nina Hafer (a1)


Host manipulation whereby a parasite increases its transmission to a subsequent host by altering the behaviour of its current host is very far spread. It also occurs in host–parasite systems that are widely distributed. This offers the potential for local adaptation. The tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus modifies its first intermediate copepod host's predation susceptibility to suit its own needs by reducing its activity before it becomes infective and increasing it thereafter. To investigate potential differences in host manipulation between different populations and test for potential local adaptation with regard to host manipulation, I experimentally infected hosts from two distinct populations with parasites from either population in a fully crossed design. Host manipulation differed between populations mostly once the parasite had reached infectivity. These differences in infective parasites were mostly due to differences between different parasite populations. In not yet infective parasites, however, host population also had a significant effect on host manipulation. There was no evidence of local adaptation; parasites were able to manipulate foreign and local hosts equally well. Likewise, hosts were equally poor at resisting host manipulation by local and foreign parasites.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Author for correspondence: Nina Hafer, E-mail:


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Differences between populations in host manipulation by the tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus – is there local adaptation?

  • Nina Hafer (a1)


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