Hosts pay energetic costs to parasites even before infection is established

Ryan Hechingernews

In a paper just published in Functional Ecology coming from Lauren’s postdoc work, we report that attacking Euhaplorchis californiensis (Euha) cercariae prompt killifish to become more active and burn more calories. This likely represents that the fish can sense the attacking parasites and then seek to defend against successful infection. Intriguingly, the overall metabolic rates of killifish that already had Euha on the brain were indistinguishable from uninfected fish, suggesting that the main energy drain caused by the parasite might arise from the attacking stages, not the actual feeding stages. See our press release and the paper for the whole story.