Parasite population biology and host nutrition: dietary fructose and Moniliformis (Acanthocephala)

  • 10.1017/s0031182000052628
  • Parasitology
  • p 265-278, Volume 87, Issue 2,
  • journal-article
SUMMARYExperiments were carried out to investigate the possible influence of host-dietary fructose concentration on the relationship between worm burden and the fecundity of Moniliformis dubius. Worm length was found to be dependent both on the fructose concentration of the host's diet and on worm burden. The number of free ovaries/female worm was found to increase linearly with increasing dietary fructose concentration but was independent of worm burden. The length of the ovaries increased with increasing dietary fructose concentration and decreased in response to increases in worm density. The magnitude of the density-dependent reduction in the volume of ovarian tissue/female was decreased in worms from rats fed on diets containing low concentrations of fructose. The numbers of eggs present in the body cavities of the female worms was found to be positively correlated with dietary fructose concentration. At 5 weeks post-infection, mature eggs (containing fully developed acanthor larvae) were found in the body cavities of female worms from rats whose diets contained 3 and 12% fructose, but not in those from rats whose diets contained 1 and 2% fructose (w/w). The experimental results are discussed in the wider context of the influence of host nutrition on parasite population biology.