Artículo de revista
Sex-dependent infection causes nonadditive effects on kissing bug fecundity
Ecology and Evolution 2017;7:3552–3557
Botto Mahan, Carezza
Medel Contreras, Rodrigo
The influence of parasites on host reproduction has been widely studied in natural and experimental conditions. Most studies, however, have evaluated the parasite impact on female hosts only, neglecting the contribution of males for host reproduction. This omission is unfortunate as sex-dependent infection may have important implications for host-parasite associations. Here, we evaluate for the first time the independent and nonindependent effects of gender infection on host reproductive success using the kissing bug Mepraia spinolai and the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi as model system. We set up four crossing treatments including the following: (1) both genders infected, (2) both genders uninfected, (3) males infected-females uninfected, and (4) males uninfected- females infected, using fecundity measures as response variables. Interactive effects of infection between sexes were prevalent. Uninfected females produced more and heavier eggs when crossed with uninfected than infected males. Uninfected males, in turn, sired more eggs and nymphs when crossed with uninfected than infected females. Unexpectedly, infected males sired more nymphs when crossed with infected than uninfected females. These results can be explained by the effect of parasitism on host body size. As infection reduced size in both genders, infection on one sex only creates body size mismatches and mating constraints that are not present in pairs with the same infection status. Our results indicate the fitness impact of parasitism was contingent on the infection status of genders and mediated by body size. As the fecundity impact of parasitism cannot be estimated independently for each gender, inferences based only on female host infection run the risk of providing biased estimates of parasite-mediated impact on host reproduction.