Brief Communication

Parasitology: Parasite survives predation on its host

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Abstract

As prisoners in their living habitat, parasites should be vulnerable to destruction by the predators of their hosts. But we show here that the parasitic gordian worm Paragordius tricuspidatus is able to escape not only from its insect host after ingestion by a fish or frog but also from the digestive tract of the predator. This remarkable tactic enables the worm to continue its life cycle.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. *GEMI, UMR CNRS/IRD 2724, IRD, BP 64501, 34394 Montpellier cedex 5, France

    • Fleur Ponton
    • , Camille Lebarbenchon
    • , Thierry Lefèvre
    • , David G. Biron
    • , David Duneau
    •  & Frédéric Thomas
  2. †Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, Le Sambuc, 13200 Arles, France

    • Camille Lebarbenchon
  3. ‡Centre for Social Evolution, Institute of Biology, 21000 Copenhagen, Denmark

    • David P. Hughes

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fleur Ponton.

Supplementary information

Word documents

  1. 1.

    Supplementary information

Videos

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Video 1

    A gordian worm (Paragordius tricuspidatus) leaves its cricket host (Nemobius sylvestris).

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Video 2

    A gordian worm slides out of a frog’s mouth, the frog (Rana erythraea) having eaten the cricket in which the worm was living.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary Video 3

    A gordian worm slides out of a trout’s gill, the trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) having eaten the cricket in which the worm was living.

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