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The Marine Snail, Cerithidea californica, Matures at Smaller Sizes Where Parasitism Is High

Kevin D. Lafferty
Oikos
Vol. 68, No. 1 (Oct., 1993), pp. 3-11
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3545303
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3545303
Page Count: 9
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The Marine Snail, Cerithidea californica, Matures at Smaller Sizes Where Parasitism Is High
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Abstract

I investigated life-history and parasitism in the salt marsh snail, Cerithidea californica. Latitude and growing conditions were important factors determining maturation size. After accounting for environmental variation, there was a negative association between the maturation size of snails and the prevalence of parasitic castration by larval trematodes. As predicted by life-history theory, this may represent an adaptation against parasitism that is similar to previous observations of life-history adaptations in species subject to predation or disturbance. However, it was unclear whether this adaptation was due to phenotypic plasticity or genetic differences among populations resulting from natural selection so I conducted a reciprocal transplant between sites with high and low prevalence and found source population differences in maturation size. It appears, therefore, that the life-history differences between these populations are at least partially genetic or may represent an adaptive developmental switch that was initiated prior to the transplant.

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