Horizontal transfer of parasitic sex ratio distorters between crustacean hosts.
Parasitic sex distorters were artificially transferred within and between crustacean host species in order to study the effects of parasitism on host fitness and sex determination and to investigate parasite host specificity. Implantation of Nosema sp. to uninfected strains of its Gammarus duebeni host resulted in an active parasite infection in the gonad of recipient females and subsequent transovarial parasite transmission. The young of artificially infected females were feminized by the parasite, demonstrating that Nosema sp. is a cause of a sex ratio distortion in its host. In contrast, we were unable to cross-infect Armadillidium vulgare with the feminizing microsporidian from G. duebeni or to cross-infect G. duebeni with the feminizing bacterium Wolbachia sp. from A. vulgare.
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