Costs of parasite resistance for female survival and parental care in a freshwater isopod

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Parasite resistance is expected to be costly because activation and maintenance of immune system requires energy that will not be available for other fitness related functions. Here, we experimentally exposed gravid female isopods from two lake populations to trophically transmitted acanthocephalan parasite. Successful establishment of the parasite requires penetration to body cavity; therefore, it is likely to induce an immune response. Resistant females from a lake where the parasite occurs as well as from a lake without the parasite experienced higher mortality than susceptible or control females. Parasite exposure reduced the offspring size at birth in both susceptible, but especially, in resistant females, suggesting that resistant females had less resource to direct for parental care. Parasite exposure had no effect on brood dumping, time to release of offspring or offspring growth rate after birth. Hence, our results reveal costs of resistance in parental survival and parental care of offspring.

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