Dynamics of host-parasite interactions: the Drosophila-Howardula system

J. Jaenike, T. J.C. Anderson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Scopus citations


    Several species of mycophagous Drosophila in E North America are parasitized by the neamtode Howardula aoronymphium. The flies become infected as larvae when feeding in mushrooms. The nematodes (obligate parasites that reproduce only within adult flies) colonize mushrooms when they are expelled by the adult flies. Parasitized female flies suffer greatly reduced fertility. At normal intensities of parasitism, these nematodes do not reduce pre-adult survival of their hosts. Level of infection in emergent flies increases with the ratio of adult flies to mushrooms in a habitat. Thus, high population densities of Drosophila tend to bring on high rates of parasitism. This could contribute to observed seasonal variation in prevalence of parasitism and provide a mechanism by which nematodes can regulate insect populations below levels set by their resources. Numbers of worms per fly were randomly distributed among flies emerging from individual mushrooms, but mean intensity of parasitism varied among mushrooms. This suggests a simple mechanism for the generation of aggregated distributions of worms among hosts at the population level. -from Authors

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)533-540
    Number of pages8
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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