A parasite-mediated life-history shift in Daphnia magna

W Chadwick, T J Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The impact of parasitism on host populations will be modulated by both genetic variation for susceptibility, and phenotypically plastic life-history traits that are altered to lessen the fitness consequences of infection. In this study we tested for life-history shifts in the crustacean Daphnia magna following exposure to the horizontally transmitted microsporidian, Glugoides intestinalis. In two separate experiments, we exposed hosts to parasite spores and measured their fecundity relative to controls. We show that hosts exposed to G. intestinalis show fecundity compensation, i.e. hosts shift their life-history strategy towards early reproduction. Our experiments included multiple host genotypes, and subtle differences among them indicated that fecundity compensation could be subject to parasite-mediated natural selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-509
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Issue number1562
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2005


  • parasite-mediated selection
  • Glugoides intestinalis
  • Daphnia
  • microsporidian
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • life history


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