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Consequences of ectoparasite infection in damselflies

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posted on 2022-11-10, 23:26 authored by Shatabdi PaulShatabdi Paul

Interspecific and intraspecific variation of parasitism can have different fitness costs between sexes and across developmental stages. This variation could arise because of individual differences in immunity and resistance. Theory predicts that the extent of parasitism and its costs will be greater in males than females. This prediction has been tested and verified in vertebrates. In insects, however, contradictory evidence has been found in different taxa. We tested this prediction on Agriocnemis damselflies, which are parasitized by Arrenurus mite ectoparasite. We quantified the parasite prevalence i.e., the proportion of parasitised individuals and intensity, i.e., the number of parasites per infected damselfly in Agriocnemis femina and Agriocnemis pygmaea damselflies from eleven field sites. In contrast to our predictions, we found no difference in parasite prevalence between sexes. We found that prevalence was greater in immature females than mature females. However, we found that parasite intensity was more significant in females than males and in immature females than mature females. We further tested whether parasitism reduces longevity in Agriocnemis femina damselflies. We found that parasitism significantly reduced longevity in males compared to females and in immature females than mature females. Overall, our study provides evidence that parasitism impacts sexes and developmental stages differentially.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. General Introduction -- Chapter 2. Consequences of parasite infection in odonates -- Chapter 3. Sexual and developmental variations of ectoparasitism in damselflies -- Chapter 4. Ectoparasites reduced the longevity of damselflies -- References -- Supplementary Material


A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Science of Engineering, 2022

Department, Centre or School

Department of Biological Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Marie Herberstein

Additional Supervisor 1

Md Kawsar Khan


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