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Parasites make hosts more profitable but less available to predators
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Loïc Prosnier, Nicolas Loeuille, Florence D. Hulot, David Renault, Christophe Piscart, Baptiste Bicocchi, Muriel Deparis, Matthieu Lam, Vincent Médoc
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"
<p>Parasites are omnipresent, and their eco-evolutionary significance has aroused much interest from scientists. Parasites may affect their hosts in many ways by altering host density, vulnerability to predation, and energy content, thus modifying profitability within the optimal foraging framework. Consequently, parasites could impact predator diet and trophic links through food webs. Here, we investigate the consequences of the iridovirus Daphnia iridescent virus 1 (DIV-1) infection on the reproductive success, mortality, appearance, mobility, and biochemical composition of water fleas (Daphnia magna), a widespread freshwater crustacean. We compare search time between infected and uninfected Daphnia preyed by a common aquatic insect (Notonecta sp.) as well as the handling time and feeding preference of Notonecta sp. Our findings show that infection does not change fecundity but reduces lifespan and thereby constrains fitness. Infected Daphnia show reduced mobility and increased color reflectance in the UV and visible domains, which potentially affects their visibility and thus catchability. Infection increases body size and the amount of proteins but does not affect carbohydrate and lipid contents. Although infected Daphnia had a longer handling time, they are preferred over uninfected individuals by aquatic insects. Taken together, our findings show that DIV-1 infection could make Daphnia more profitable to predators (24% energy increase), a positive effect that should be balanced with density reductions due to higher mortalities. We also highlight that exposure to infection in asymptomatic individuals leads to ecological characteristics that differ from both healthy and symptomatic infected individuals.</p>
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Daphnia magna, white fat cell disease, optimal foraging theory, parasite-induced phenotypic alterations, European minnow, Notonecta sp.
Community ecology, Eco-evolutionary dynamics, Epidemiology, Experimental ecology, Food webs, Foraging, Freshwater ecology, Host-parasite interactions, Life history, Parasitology, Statistical ecology
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