Parasitism & sex allocation in hermaphroditic host

Ryan Hechingernews

In another paper from Cat’s PhD (congrats!) published in Scientific Reports, we document that when hermaphroditic Chthamalus fissus barnacles invest in female reproduction, it comes with greater risk of being infected by the ovary-eating isopod parasite Hemioniscus balani. In fact, this parasite may partly explain our surprising finding–which is contrary to standard theoretical expectations–that the largest barnacles were not investing at all in female function. For the full story, see Fong et al. (2019) Hermaphrodites and parasitism: size-specific female reproduction drives infection by an ephemeral parasitic castrator.