Parasites which alter host behavior

Michael J. Bumbulis mjb10 at po.CWRU.Edu
Mon Apr 7 22:26:02 EST 1997


In a previous article, micromark at juno.com (Mark Armitage) says:

>Dear All,
>Does anyone have any references on parasites which alter intermediate
>host behavior in order to increase chances of predation upon the
>host?

If you want to consider bacteria as parasites, there is a good
(but short) article in the 3/21/97 issue of Science (p. 1743).
Apparently, a bacterium (Wolbachia) infects many types of insects
and takes residence in the ovaries and testes.  It's primarily
transmitted from the mother to offspring through the egg cytoplasm.
But it also affects behavior because it essentially turns the
insects into parthenogenetic creatures.  In fact, in one species
of wasp, males have ceased to exist!  As one scientist says,
it appears parthenogenesis may be contagious.  Perhaps this
type of phenomena may one day open up doors for biological control.
Turn them skeeters into parthenogenotes and they may have a much harder
time developing resistance to insecticides.

-- 
 



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