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Different Host Exploitation Strategies in Two Zebra Mussel-Trematode Systems: Adjustments of Host Life History Traits

Abstract : The zebra mussel is the intermediate host for two digenean trematodes, Phyllodistomum folium and Bucephalus polymorphus, infecting gills and the gonad respectively. Many gray areas exist relating to the host physiological disturbances associated with these infections, and the strategies used by these parasites to exploit their host without killing it. The aim of this study was to examine the host exploitation strategies of these trematodes and the associated host physiological disturbances. We hypothesized that these two parasite species, by infecting two different organs (gills or gonads), do not induce the same physiological changes. Four cellular responses (lysosomal and peroxisomal defence systems, lipidic peroxidation and lipidic reserves) in the host digestive gland were studied by histochemistry and stereology, as well as the energetic reserves available in gonads. Moreover, two indices were calculated related to the reproductive status and the physiological condition of the organisms. Both parasites induced adjustments of zebra mussel life history traits. The host-exploitation strategy adopted by P. folium would occur during a short-term period due to gill deformation, and could be defined as ''virulent.'' Moreover, this parasite had significant host gender-dependent effects: infected males displayed a slowed-down metabolism and energetic reserves more allocated to growth, whereas females displayed better defences and would allocate more energy to reproduction and maintenance. In contrast, B. polymorphus would be a more ''prudent'' parasite, exploiting its host during a long-term period through the consumption of reserves allocated to reproduction.
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Laetitia Minguez, Thierry Buronfosse, Laure Giamberini. Different Host Exploitation Strategies in Two Zebra Mussel-Trematode Systems: Adjustments of Host Life History Traits. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2012, 7 (3), pp.e34029. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0034029⟩. ⟨hal-02379453⟩

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