Living on the edge: parasite prevalence changes dramatically across a range edge in an invasive gecko

Coates, Andrew, Barnett, Louise K., Hoskin, Conrad, and Phillips, Ben L. (2017) Living on the edge: parasite prevalence changes dramatically across a range edge in an invasive gecko. American Naturalist, 189 (2). pp. 178-183.

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Abstract

Species interactions can determine range limits, and parasitism is the most intimate of such interactions. Intriguingly, the very conditions on range edges likely change host-parasite dynamics in nontrivial ways. Range edges are often associated with clines in host density and with environmental transitions, both of which may affect parasite transmission. On advancing range edges, founder events and fitness/dispersal costs of parasitism may also cause parasites to be lost on range edges. Here we examine the prevalence of three species of parasite across the range edge of an invasive gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus, in northeastern Australia. The gecko's range edge spans the urban-woodland interface at the edge of urban areas. Across this edge, gecko abundance shows a steep decline, being lower in the woodland. Two parasite species (a mite and a pentastome) are coevolved with H. frenatus, and these species become less prevalent as the geckos become less abundant. A third species of parasite (another pentastome) is native to Australia and has no coevolutionary history with H. frenatus. This species became more prevalent as the geckos become less abundant. These dramatic shifts in parasitism(occurring over 3.5 km) confirm that host-parasite dynamics can vary substantially across the range edge of this gecko host.

Item ID: 50555
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1537-5323
Keywords: Hemidactylus frenatus, invasive, parasite prevalence, pentastomid, range edge, range expansion
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP1094646
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 10:00
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 25%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050103 Invasive Species Ecology @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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