Crab-dissolving parasitic ciliate paper out

Ryan HechingerUncategorized

In a paper just published in Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, we describe a new genus and species of apostome ciliate–Lynnia grapsolytica. The genus honors the recently deceased Dennis Lynn–a major ciliate biologist–while the specific epithet refers to the way the parasite chews up most of the tissues of its host, the very common Pacific stripped shore crab, Pachygrapsus crassipes. The parasite is a probable parasitoid–obligatorily killing its host to continue on with its life cycle.

Congrats to Dan, who did this work as a side project. It’s a substantial, multifaceted integrative taxonomy paper, also including histology and host survivorship analysis.

See our press release or the paper for more.

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.



Jennifer defends her MS thesis!

Ryan Hechingernews

Jennifer Dusto today successfully defended her BS/MS thesis, which involves describing the first mermithid parasitoid known to infect crabs.

Congrats Jennifer!

Cassie defends her MS thesis!

Ryan Hechingernews

Cassandra Bernas today defended her BS/MS thesis dealing with using DNA sequences to reveal cryptic diversity of parasites in our food webs, and to connect up different life stages of those parasites.

Congrats Cassie!

Trematode parasites make more soldiers in areas of greater invasion threat

Ryan Hechingernews

That’s the main finding we report in a new Biology Letters pub with collaborators Emlyn Resetaritz and Mark Torchin.

Remarkably, this seems to be the first robust documentation for any animal society of a spatial relationship between allocation to a specific caste and the supposed selective agent. Again showing the power of using trematodes as model systems to tackle fundamental ecological, evolutionary, & behavioral questions.

Congrats to Emlyn who did this work for her PhD thesis as a visiting graduate student at SIO (California) and at STRI (Panama)!

link to pub