Parasites should be better at infecting hosts from sympatric populations than allopatric populations most of the time (parasite local adaptation). In a previous study of a population of snail parasites (Microphallus sp.) from Lake Alexandrina, New Zealand, we found that Microphallus was more infective to snails (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) in shallow water but not in deep water. Here, we repeated the original study and also monitored the development of the parasite. We found that parasites from shallow water were more infective to hosts from shallow water and developed more rapidly in these hosts. In contrast, parasites from deep water were not more infective to hosts from deep water and did not develop more rapidly in them. These results suggest clinal variation in the susceptibility of these snails, with shallow-water snails more susceptible than deep-water snails. We offer 2 possible explanations for these results. First, gene flow in the Microphallus population is primarily from shallow to deep water, leading to an asymmetric pattern of local adaptation. Alternatively, snails from shallow water may be more susceptible for reasons independent of gene flow, perhaps due to differences in host condition between habitats.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Infectious Diseases