Evolution of trophic transmission in parasites: the need to reach a mating place?
Article first published online: 7 JUL 2008
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 14, Issue 5, pages 815–820, September 2001
How to Cite
Brown, S. P., Renaud, F., Guégan, J.-F. and Thomas, F. (2001), Evolution of trophic transmission in parasites: the need to reach a mating place?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 14: 815–820. doi: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2001.00318.x
- Issue published online: 7 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 7 JUL 2008
- complex life cycle;
- trophic transmission
Although numerous parasite species have a simple life cycle (SLC) and complete their life cycle in one host, there are other parasite species that exploit several host species successively. From an evolutionary perspective, understanding the mix of adaptive and contingent forces shaping the transition from an ancestral single-host state to such a complex life cycle (CLC) has proved an intriguing challenge. In this paper, we propose a new hypothesis, which states that CLCs involving trophic transmission (i.e. transmission to a predator) evolved because they are an efficient way for parasites to meet a sexual partner, assuming that selective benefits are associated with cross-fertilization. Predators that eat a lot of prey in a relatively short time interval act to concentrate isolated parasites. We use an optimality model to develop our hypothesis and discuss further directions of potential research.