Parasite loads are higher in the tropics: temperate to tropical variation in a single host-parasite system

Salkeld, Daniel J., Trivedi, Mandar, and Schwarzkopf, Lin (2008) Parasite loads are higher in the tropics: temperate to tropical variation in a single host-parasite system. Ecography, 31 (4). pp. 538-544.

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Parasites are important selective forces upon the evolutionary ecology of their hosts. At least one hypothesis suggests that high species diversity in the tropics is associated with higher parasite abundance in tropical climates. Few studies, however, have directly assessed whether parasite abundance is higher in the tropics. To address this question, it is ideal, although seldom achievable, to compare parasite abundance in a single species that occurs over a geographical area including both temperate and tropical regions. We examined variation in blood parasite abundance in seven populations of a single lizard host species (Eulamprus quoyii) using a transect that spans temperate and tropical climates. Parasite prevalence (proportion of the host population infected) showed no geographical pattern. Interestingly though, parasite load was higher in lizard populations in the tropics, and was related to mean annual temperature, but not to rainfall. We speculate that in this system the relationship between latitude and parasite load is most likely due to variation in host life history over their geographic range.

Item ID: 6228
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1600-0587
Keywords: geographic variation; host-parasite relationships; lizards; haemogragines; hepatozoon hinulae; Eulamprus quoyii; tropical biology
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2010 01:03
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0599 Other Environmental Sciences > 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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