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Within-and Among-Family Variation in Parasite Load and Parasite-Induced Mortality in the Land Snail Arianta arbustorum, a Host of Parasitic Mites

Hans Ulrich Schüpbach and Bruno Baur
The Journal of Parasitology
Vol. 96, No. 4 (AUGUST 2010), pp. 830-832
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40802627
Page Count: 3
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Within-and Among-Family Variation in Parasite Load and Parasite-Induced Mortality in the Land Snail Arianta arbustorum, a Host of Parasitic Mites
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Abstract

Variation in host susceptibility and parasite-induced mortality are preconditions for parasite-related selection on host populations. In terrestrial gastropods, variation in resistance against ectoparasite infection is poorly understood. We examined the within-and among-family variation in parasite load in full-siblings of the land snail Arianta arbustorum experimentally infected with Riccardoella limacum, a mite living in the mantle cavity of helicid land snails. We also quantified the influence of family origin and host size on parasite load and calculated its heritability (h²). Furthermore, we examined the influence of parasite load, snail size, and family origin on host winter mortality, an important lifehistory trait of A. arbustorum. Parasite load was heritable (h² = 0.63). In infected snails, parasite load was affected by family origin and increased with increasing shell size. Host mortality during hibernation increased with increasing parasite load and differed among families, but was not affected by snail size. Our results show high among-family variation both in resistance against ectoparasite infection and in host winter mortality. Furthermore, we show that parasite load is linked to snail size, which suggests that the proliferation of R. limacum is limited by resources provided by A. arbustorum.

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