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A reply to “Ranging Behavior Drives Parasite Richness: A More Parsimonious Hypothesis”
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Charpentier MJE, Kappeler PM
Please use the format "First name initials family name" as in "Marie S. Curie, Niels H. D. Bohr, Albert Einstein, John R. R. Tolkien, Donna T. Strickland"
In a recent article, Bicca-Marques and Calegaro-Marques  discussed the putative assumptions related to an interpretation we provided regarding an observed positive relationship between weekly averaged parasite richness of a group of mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) and their daily path lengths (DPL), published earlier in the same journal (Brockmeyer et al., 2015). In our article, we proposed, inter alia, that “the daily travels of mandrills could be seen as a way to escape contaminated habitats on a local scale”. In their article, Bicca-Marques and Calegaro-Marques  proposed an alternative mechanism that they considered to be more parsimonious. In their view, increased DPL also increases exposure to novel parasites from the environment. In other words, while we proposed that elevated DPL may be a consequence of elevated parasite richness, they viewed it as a cause. We are happy to see that our study attracted so much interest that it evoked a public comment. We are also grateful to Bicca-Marques and Calegaro-Marques  for pointing out an obvious alternative scenario that we failed to discuss and for laying out several key factors and assumptions that should be addressed by future studies examining the links between parasite risk and group ranging. We use this opportunity to advance this discourse by responding to some of the criticisms raised in their discussion of our article. In this reply, we briefly contextualize the main object of criticism. We then discuss the putative parsimony of the two competing scenarios.
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Behaviour & Ethology, Evolutionary ecology, Foraging, Host-parasite interactions, Spatial ecology, Metacommunities & Metapopulations, Zoology
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