To eat or not to eat infected food: a bug’s dilemma

Liron Goren, Frida Ben-Ami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parasites can adversely affect host population densities, but predators can regulate disease by reducing the density of susceptible hosts and consuming parasites contained in infected hosts. Some parasites induce phenotypic modifications in their hosts that potentially lead to increased predation. We investigated the role of parasite-induced modified appearance in the interactions between the crustacean Daphnia magna, its bacterial parasite Pasteuria ramosa, and its predator, the backswimmer Anisops sp. Our aim was to test the backswimmer’s prey preference between infected and uninfected D. magna to find out whether infection by P. ramosa can affect predation risk by Anisops. We found that Anisops sp. had a strong preference for uninfected D. magna under light, but under dark conditions the preference was reversed, which suggests that the modified appearance is the cause of this preference. Such anti-parasite preference by Anisops sp. could strongly influence host population dynamics as loss of fecundity, disease mortality, and predation are additive, resulting in host population decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • Anisops
  • Daphnia magna
  • Parasitism
  • Pasteuria ramosa
  • Predation
  • Prey preference


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