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Parasitic castration: the evolution and ecology of body snatchers

December 1, 2009

Castration is a response to the tradeoff between consumption and longevity faced by parasites. Common parasitic castrators include larval trematodes in snails, and isopod and barnacle parasites of crustaceans. The infected host (with its many unique properties) is the extended phenotype of the parasitic castrator. Because an individual parasitic castrator can usurp all the reproductive energy from a host, and that energy is limited, intra- and interspecific competition among castrators is generally intense. These parasites can be abundant and can substantially depress host density. Host populations subject to high rates of parasitic castration appear to respond by maturing more rapidly.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2009
Title Parasitic castration: the evolution and ecology of body snatchers
DOI 10.1016/
Authors Kevin D. Lafferty, Armand M. Kuris
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Trends in Parasitology
Index ID 70176612
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center