The dilution effect can occur by a range of mechanisms and results in reduced parasite prevalence in host taxa. In invaded ecosystems, the dilution effect can benefit native species if non-native species, acting as resistant or less competent hosts, reduce rates of parasitic infections in native species. In field experiments, we assessed whether manipulating biomass of the non-native snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, caused a dilution effect by reducing trematode infections in three taxa of native snails. In contrast to many studies showing resistant or less competent non-native hosts can “dilute” or reduce infection rates, we found no evidence for a dilution effect reducing infection rates of any of the native snails. We suggest that a dilution effect may not have occurred because most trematode taxa are highly host specific, and thus the trematode transmission stages did not recognize the invasive snail as a possible host. In this case, community composition appears to be important in influencing the dilution effect.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)