- Journal Article
Immune systems have repeatedly diversified in response to parasite diversity. Many animals have outsourced part of their immune defence to defensive symbionts, which should be affected by similar evolutionary pressures as the host’s own immune system. Protective symbionts provide efficient and specific protection and respond to changing selection pressure by parasites. Here we use the aphid Aphis fabae, its protective symbiont Hamiltonella defensa, and its parasitoid Lysiphlebus fabarum to test whether parasite diversity can maintain diversity in protective symbionts. We exposed aphid populations with the same initial symbiont composition to parasitoid populations that differed in their diversity. As expected, single parasitoid genotypes mostly favoured a single symbiont that was most protective against that particular parasitoid, while multiple symbionts persisted in aphids exposed to more diverse parasitoid populations, which in turn affected aphid population density and rates of parasitism. Parasite diversity may be crucial to maintaining symbiont diversity in nature. ( © Wiley 2020). Show more
Journal / seriesEcology Letters
Pages / Article No.
SubjectAdaptation; Aphids; Aphis fabae; Defensive symbiois; Experimental evolution; Immune system; Lysiphlebus fabarum; Maintenance of diversity; Parasitoid wasps; Specificity
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