DAO 74:119-126 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/dao074119

Infectivity of two nematode parasites, Camallanus lacustris and Anguillicola crassus, in a paratenic host, the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus

C. K. Krobbach1, M. Kalbe1, J. Kurtz2, J. P. Scharsack1,*

1Department of Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, August-Thienemann-Straße 2, 24306 Plön, Germany
2University of Münster, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Animal Evolutionary Ecology Group, Hüfferstr. 1, 48149 Münster, Germany
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Three-spined sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus are frequent paratenic hosts of the nematode parasites Anguillicola crassus and Camallanus lacustris. As paratenic hosts, sticklebacks could spread infection by carrying high numbers of infective stages. In contrast, low infective ability of either parasite for the paratenic host could hinder the spread of infection. In the present study, G. aculeatus was, for the first time, infected under controlled laboratory conditions with defined doses of the parasites. Sticklebacks were exposed to 6, 12, 18 and 24 parasite larvae to determine the infective ability of the 2 nematode species. There were significantly higher infection rates for C. lacustris (18 to 49%) than for A. crassus (4 to 14%) at each exposure dose. In C. lacustris-infected sticklebacks, infection rates tended to be highest after exposure to 12 C. lacustris larvae and lowest after exposure to 24 parasites. In A. crassus-infected sticklebacks, no effect of parasite exposure dose on infection rates was observed. Immunity parameters such as respiratory burst activity and lymphocyte proliferation of head kidney leukocytes recorded 18 wk post exposure were not significantly affected by either parasite or exposure dose. Granulocyte:lymphocyte ratios were elevated only within the stickleback group showing to the highest infection intensity of C. lacustris, i.e. those exposed 18 parasites.

KEY WORDS: Anguillicola crassus · Camallanus lacustris · Gasterosteus aculeatus · Infective dose · Neozoic parasite · Immune response · Granulocyte:lymphocyte ratio · Respiratory burst

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