ICB special issue on parasite manipulation

Dr. Zen Faulkes and I organized a symposium entitled “Parasitic manipulation of host phenotype-or how to make a zombie” at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology conference this year. The manuscripts are now all available by advanced online access, and will be included in the next issue of Integrative and Comparative Biology! I’m really humbled by how many amazing scientists participated in the symposium, and am thrilled with the content in the special  issue. Links to the manuscripts can be found below. Enjoy!

Also, many, many thanks to Zen for being such an amazing collaborator. Go team Clone-Zombie!


Weinersmith K, Faulkes Z. Parasitic manipulation of hosts’ phenotype, or how to make a zombie—an introduction to the symposium. Integrative & Comparative Biology: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu028

Joseph M, Faulkes Z. Nematodes infect but do not manipulate digging by, sand crabs, Lepidopa benedictiIntegrative & Comparative Biology: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu064 Open access

ant_lowresParanjpe DA, Medina D, Nielsen E, Cooper RD, Paranjpe SA, Sinervo B. Spatio-temporal dynamics of side-blotched lizards (Uta stansburiana) and their micro-parasites. Integrative & Comparative Biology: in press.http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu069 

Kaushik M, Knowles SCL, Webster JP. What makes a feline fatal in Toxoplasma gondii’s fatal feline attraction? Infected rats choose wild cats. Integrative & Comparative Biology: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu060

Libersat F, Gal R. Wasp voodoo rituals, venom-cocktails, and the zombification of cockroach hosts. Integrative & Comparative Biology: in press.http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu006

Carreon N, Faulkes Z. Position of larval tapeworms, Polypocephalus sp., in the ganglia of shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferusIntegrative & Comparative Biology: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu043 Open access

Fredensborg BL. Predictors of host specificity among behavior-manipulating parasites. Integrative & Comparative Biology: in press.http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu051

Adamo SA. Parasitic aphrodisiacs: manipulation of the hosts’ behavioral defenses by sexually transmitted parasites. Integrative & Comparative Biology: in press.http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu036

de Bekker C, Merrow M, Hughes DP. From behavior to mechanisms: an. Integrative approach to the manipulation by a parasitic fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l.) of its host ants (Camponotus spp.). Integrative & Comparative Biology: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu063

Boze BGV, Moore J. The effect of a nematode parasite on feeding and dung-burying behavior of an ecosystem engineer. Integrative & Comparative Biology: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu017

Weinersmith K, Warinner C, Tan V, Harris D, Mora A, Kuris A, Lafferty K, Hechinger R. A lack of crowding? Body size does not decrease with density for two behavior-manipulating parasites. Integrative & Comparative Biology: in press.http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu081

Mauck KE, De Moraes CM, Mescher MC. Evidence of local adaptation in plant virus effects on host–vector interactions. Integrative & Comparative Biology: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu012

Hughes, DP. On the origins of parasite extended phenotypes. Integrative & Comparative Biology: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu079


Thanks to NSF for funding the symposium!

NSF logo

California killifish hatching video

For my dissertation research I am looking at how two trematode parasites manipulate the personality and physiology of California killifish (their second intermediate host) following infection. Because parasites often become locally adapted to their hosts, the ideal killifish for my experiments are killifish that are uninfected, but have a recent evolutionary history with the parasites. Uninfected killifish in populations that co-occur with the parasites are difficult to acquire, as killifish become infected by the brain-infecting parasite I study very soon after hatching. It’s a tough world out there for the killifish!

Because the killifish are infected by such a young age, the best solution is to acquire eggs from infected California killifish adults and raise these eggs in the lab. The amazing Alejandra Jaramillo collected California killifish eggs for me, and I have been raising them in the lab. The eggs have hatched (!), and I made a video documenting their development. The video quality isn’t great and I admit it’s all a bit corny, but I’m so excited about having the “right” kind of hosts for my upcoming experiments that I couldn’t help myself. Here is the video: