Long-term disease dynamics for a specialized parasite of ant societies

A field study

Raquel G. Loreto, Simon L. Elliot, Mayara L.R. Freitas, Thairine M. Pereira, David Peter Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many studies have investigated how social insects behave when a parasite is introduced into their colonies. These studies have been conducted in the laboratory, and we still have a limited understanding of the dynamics of ant-parasite interactions under natural conditions. Here we consider a specialized parasite of ant societies (Ophiocordyceps camponoti-rufipedis infecting Camponotus rufipes) within a rainforest. We first established that the parasite is unable to develop to transmission stage when introduced within the host nest. Secondly, we surveyed all colonies in the studied area and recorded 100% prevalence at the colony level (all colonies were infected). Finally, we conducted a long-term detailed census of parasite pressure, by mapping the position of infected dead ants and foraging trails (future hosts) in the immediate vicinity of the colonies over 20 months. We report new dead infected ants for all the months we conducted the census - at an average of 14.5 cadavers/month/colony. Based on the low infection rate, the absence of colony collapse or complete recovery of the colonies, we suggest that this parasite represents a chronic infection in the ant societies. We also proposed a "terminal host model of transmission" that links the age-related polyethism to the persistence of a parasitic infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere103516
JournalPloS one
Volume9
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 18 2014

Fingerprint

Ants
Formicidae
Parasites
parasites
Censuses
Colony Collapse
Camponotus rufipes
Ophiocordyceps
polyethism
Parasitic Diseases
social insects
parasitoses
Infection
Cadaver
infection
rain forests
Insects
nests
foraging
Pressure

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Loreto, Raquel G. ; Elliot, Simon L. ; Freitas, Mayara L.R. ; Pereira, Thairine M. ; Hughes, David Peter. / Long-term disease dynamics for a specialized parasite of ant societies : A field study. In: PloS one. 2014 ; Vol. 9, No. 8.
@article{f540d90ba89140a88fc4d66fcb39e76e,
title = "Long-term disease dynamics for a specialized parasite of ant societies: A field study",
abstract = "Many studies have investigated how social insects behave when a parasite is introduced into their colonies. These studies have been conducted in the laboratory, and we still have a limited understanding of the dynamics of ant-parasite interactions under natural conditions. Here we consider a specialized parasite of ant societies (Ophiocordyceps camponoti-rufipedis infecting Camponotus rufipes) within a rainforest. We first established that the parasite is unable to develop to transmission stage when introduced within the host nest. Secondly, we surveyed all colonies in the studied area and recorded 100{\%} prevalence at the colony level (all colonies were infected). Finally, we conducted a long-term detailed census of parasite pressure, by mapping the position of infected dead ants and foraging trails (future hosts) in the immediate vicinity of the colonies over 20 months. We report new dead infected ants for all the months we conducted the census - at an average of 14.5 cadavers/month/colony. Based on the low infection rate, the absence of colony collapse or complete recovery of the colonies, we suggest that this parasite represents a chronic infection in the ant societies. We also proposed a {"}terminal host model of transmission{"} that links the age-related polyethism to the persistence of a parasitic infection.",
author = "Loreto, {Raquel G.} and Elliot, {Simon L.} and Freitas, {Mayara L.R.} and Pereira, {Thairine M.} and Hughes, {David Peter}",
year = "2014",
month = "8",
day = "18",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0103516",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "9",
journal = "PLoS One",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "8",

}

Long-term disease dynamics for a specialized parasite of ant societies : A field study. / Loreto, Raquel G.; Elliot, Simon L.; Freitas, Mayara L.R.; Pereira, Thairine M.; Hughes, David Peter.

In: PloS one, Vol. 9, No. 8, e103516, 18.08.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Long-term disease dynamics for a specialized parasite of ant societies

T2 - A field study

AU - Loreto, Raquel G.

AU - Elliot, Simon L.

AU - Freitas, Mayara L.R.

AU - Pereira, Thairine M.

AU - Hughes, David Peter

PY - 2014/8/18

Y1 - 2014/8/18

N2 - Many studies have investigated how social insects behave when a parasite is introduced into their colonies. These studies have been conducted in the laboratory, and we still have a limited understanding of the dynamics of ant-parasite interactions under natural conditions. Here we consider a specialized parasite of ant societies (Ophiocordyceps camponoti-rufipedis infecting Camponotus rufipes) within a rainforest. We first established that the parasite is unable to develop to transmission stage when introduced within the host nest. Secondly, we surveyed all colonies in the studied area and recorded 100% prevalence at the colony level (all colonies were infected). Finally, we conducted a long-term detailed census of parasite pressure, by mapping the position of infected dead ants and foraging trails (future hosts) in the immediate vicinity of the colonies over 20 months. We report new dead infected ants for all the months we conducted the census - at an average of 14.5 cadavers/month/colony. Based on the low infection rate, the absence of colony collapse or complete recovery of the colonies, we suggest that this parasite represents a chronic infection in the ant societies. We also proposed a "terminal host model of transmission" that links the age-related polyethism to the persistence of a parasitic infection.

AB - Many studies have investigated how social insects behave when a parasite is introduced into their colonies. These studies have been conducted in the laboratory, and we still have a limited understanding of the dynamics of ant-parasite interactions under natural conditions. Here we consider a specialized parasite of ant societies (Ophiocordyceps camponoti-rufipedis infecting Camponotus rufipes) within a rainforest. We first established that the parasite is unable to develop to transmission stage when introduced within the host nest. Secondly, we surveyed all colonies in the studied area and recorded 100% prevalence at the colony level (all colonies were infected). Finally, we conducted a long-term detailed census of parasite pressure, by mapping the position of infected dead ants and foraging trails (future hosts) in the immediate vicinity of the colonies over 20 months. We report new dead infected ants for all the months we conducted the census - at an average of 14.5 cadavers/month/colony. Based on the low infection rate, the absence of colony collapse or complete recovery of the colonies, we suggest that this parasite represents a chronic infection in the ant societies. We also proposed a "terminal host model of transmission" that links the age-related polyethism to the persistence of a parasitic infection.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84929136429&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84929136429&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0103516

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0103516

M3 - Article

VL - 9

JO - PLoS One

JF - PLoS One

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 8

M1 - e103516

ER -