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Parasites shaping host eating preferences?

James Mahaffy mahaffy at dordt.edu
Mon May 24 16:03:42 EST 1999

Russell Farris wrote:
> Can anyone point me to examples of parasites modifying the behaviour of
> their hosts, particularly their eating preferences? Thanks.
> Russ Farris

There are several flukes that have an ant intermediate host after the
snail that alter the ant behavior in an amazing way.  in Dicrocoelium
dendriticum  (from Schmidt and robert 3rd edition) some of the
metacercaria in the ant migrate to the subesophageal ganglion and modify
its behavior so instated of going into their holes as any decent ant
would they migrate to the tops of grass in the cool of the evening,
which puts them in a good spot for being eaten my a sheep.   Great
I am not a parasitologists but I like parasites and used it in my
Zoology class the last couple of years. You want another great story
about how a parasite attracts a next host look at Leuochloridium. 
James Mahaffy (mahaffy at dordt.edu)      Phone: 712 722-6279
Biology Department                     FAX :  712 722-1198
Dordt College, Sioux Center IA 51250

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