The strategies that parasites use to exploit their hosts can lead to adverse effects on human and animal populations. Here, we describe the life cycle, epidemiology, and consequences of hookworm (Uncinaria sp.) disease in South American fur seals (Arctocephalus australis), and propose that hookworm adaptation to fur seal life history traits has led to maximizing transmission at high levels of parasite-induced anemia and mortality. Fur seal pups acquire hookworms during their first days of life through their mothers’ colostrum and most adult hookworms are expelled from the pups’ intestine 30–65 days later. This gives hookworms little time to feed and reproduce. However, despite reaching high within-host densities, female hookworms do not decrease egg output, therefore pups with high hookworm burden contribute disproportionately to parasite egg shedding. These heavily infected pups also suffer severe anemia and high levels of hookworm-induced mortality. Alternative strategies to maximize total egg shedding and/or transmission, such as increased environmental survival of larval stages or avoidance of clearance, have not been developed by this hookworm. We propose that fur seal hookworms exploit a live fast-die young life history strategy, which translates to the highest levels of host anemia and mortality recorded among hookworms.
|Número de páginas||10|
|Publicación||International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife|
|Estado||Publicada - 1 dic 2018|
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Animales y zoología
- Enfermedades infecciosas