Sexually-transmitted disease in a sub-tropical eucalypt beetle: infection of the fittest?

Nahrung, Helen F. & Clarke, Anthony R. (2007) Sexually-transmitted disease in a sub-tropical eucalypt beetle: infection of the fittest? Evolutionary Ecology, 21(2), pp. 143-156.

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The ecology of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) is topical in scientific research, and their demography and epidemiology differ from those of classical pathogens and parasites. Transmission of STDs is generally density-independent, occurs via the "fittest" individuals in a population (or, at least, those that achieve the most matings), and reflects differential mating success. STDs can therefore have a major influence on the evolution of host mating systems. We studied the epidemiology of a recently described STD of a chrysomelid beetle in applied and theoretical contexts, exploring the virulence, intensity and prevalence of infection, and using our results to test ecological predictions. Chrysophtharta cloelia is infected with a sexually-transmitted mite (the STD), Parobia captivus. Infection rate over three beetle generations (7 months) was determined and the STD’s effects on fertility, fecundity, longevity, mating success and overwintering survival was measured. Throughout the season around 40% of beetles were infected, with approximately one quarter of such hosts carrying infective life stages of the STD at any one time. Infection by P. captivus significantly decreased overwintering survival, but did not impact on other fitness parameters measured, including mate acceptance. However, more female beetles were infected than male beetles, while within both sexes larger beetles were more likely to be infected. Our results concur with theoretical predictions that STDs may be selected for low virulence and low detectability, while the observation of female bias in infection supports hypotheses regarding variable mating success and mating skews, which we discuss.

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7 citations in Scopus
7 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 14897
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Chrysomelidae, Chrysophtharta, Parobia, Podapolipidae
DOI: 10.1007/s10682-006-0018-8
ISSN: 1573-8477
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES (070000) > FORESTRY SCIENCES (070500) > Forestry Pests Health and Diseases (070505)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Springer
Copyright Statement: The original publication is available at SpringerLink
Deposited On: 17 Sep 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:32

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