Sex-specific differences in shoaling affect parasite transmission in guppies

Richards, E. Loys, van Oosterhout, Cock ORCID: and Cable, Joanne (2010) Sex-specific differences in shoaling affect parasite transmission in guppies. PLoS One, 5 (10). ISSN 1932-6203

[thumbnail of Richards_et_al._PLOS_One_2011.pdf]
PDF (Richards_et_al._PLOS_One_2011.pdf) - Published Version
Download (312kB) | Preview


Background: Individuals have to trade-off the costs and benefits of group membership during shoaling behaviour. Shoaling can increase the risk of parasite transmission, but this cost has rarely been quantified experimentally. Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) are a model system for behavioural studies, and they are commonly infected by gyrodactylid parasites, notorious fish pathogens that are directly transmitted between guppy hosts. Methodology/Principal Findings: Parasite transmission in single sex shoals of male and female guppies were observed using an experimental infection of Gyrodactylus turnbulli. Parasite transmission was affected by sex-specific differences in host behaviour, and significantly more parasites were transmitted when fish had more frequent and more prolonged contact with each other. Females shoaled significantly more than males and had a four times higher risk to contract an infection. Conclusions/Significance: Intersexual differences in host behaviours such as shoaling are driven by differences in natural and sexual selection experienced by both sexes. Here we show that the potential benefits of an increased shoaling tendency are traded off against increased risks of contracting an infectious parasite in a group-living species.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2010 Richards et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Depositing User: Users 2731 not found.
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2012 16:47
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2023 15:30
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013285


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item