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A nematomorph parasite explains variation in terrestrial subsidies to trout streams in Japan

Authors


T. Sato, KYOUSEI Science Center for Life and Nature, Nara Women's Univ., Kita-Uoya Higashimachi, JP-630-8506 Nara, Japan. E-mail: takuya@species.jp

Abstract

Nematomorph parasites alter the behavior of their orthopteran hosts, driving them to water and creating a source of food for stream salmonids. We investigated whether nematomorphs could explain variation in terrestrial subsidies across several streams. In nine study streams, orthopterans comprise much of the stomach contents of trout (46 ± 31% on average). Total mass of ingested prey per trout biomass positively correlated with the mass of orthopterans ingested, suggesting that the orthopterans enhanced absolute mass of prey consumption by the trout population. The orthopterans ingested per trout biomass positively correlated with the abundance of nematomorphs in the stream, but not with the abundance of camel crickets (the dominant hosts) around the streams. Streams in conifer plantations had fewer nematomorphs than streams in natural deciduous forests. These results provide the first quantitative evidence that a manipulative parasite can explain variation in the allochthonous energy flow through and across ecosystems.

Ancillary