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Surface activity of Corophium volutator: role for parasites?
Damsgaard, J.T.; Mouritsen, K.N.; Jensen, K.T. (2005). Surface activity of Corophium volutator: role for parasites? J. Sea Res. 54(2): 176-184. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2005.04.001
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Behavioural responses; Benthic environment; Parasites; Surface activity; Corophium volutator (Pallas, 1766) [WoRMS]; Trematoda [WoRMS]; ANE, Wadden Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Damsgaard, J.T.
  • Mouritsen, K.N.
  • Jensen, K.T., correspondent

Abstract
    In soft-bottom intertidal habitats, the normally infaunal amphipod Corophium volutator is often found active on the sediment surface during low tide, exposed to desiccation and shorebird predation. Here we examine whether such risky behaviour is related to parasite infections. Surface-active and buried C. volutator were collected during a low tide period in the Danish Wadden Sea, and the infection patterns of the two groups were described in relation to sex and size. Surface-active males and females were more heavily infested by microphallid trematodes (four species) than buried specimens of the same sex and size class. Although the density of surfaced amphipods decreased as a function of exposure time, the mean parasite load of those that remained on the surface increased. A narrow size-specific parasite intensity threshold above which the amphipods were always surface active did not exist: heavily infected individuals were also found buried in the substrate. Although likely to be beneficial to the parasites, this suggests that the behavioural alteration is a side-effect of the infections rather than a consequence of direct parasitic manipulation. Besides the presumed mortality associated with the parasite-related surface activity in a range of size-classes, the intensity-size frequency distribution indicated that larger and hence heavily infected hosts are removed from the population. Together it demonstrates that microphallid trematodes impact the population dynamics of C. volutator.

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