Parasite avoidance behaviours in aquatic environments
Behringer, D. C., Karvonen, A., & Bojko, J. (2018). Parasite avoidance behaviours in aquatic environments. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 373 (1751), 0202. doi:10.1098/rstb.2017.0202
© 2018 The Author(s).
Parasites, including macroparasites, protists, fungi, bacteria and viruses, can impose a heavy burden upon host animals. However, hosts are not without defences. One aspect of host defence, behavioural avoidance, has been studied in the terrestrial realm for over 50 years, but was first reported from the aquatic environment approximately 20 years ago. Evidence has mounted on the importance of parasite avoidance behaviours and it is increasingly apparent that there are core similarities in the function and benefit of this defence mechanism between terrestrial and aquatic systems. However, there are also stark differences driven by the unique biotic and abiotic characteristics of terrestrial and aquatic (marine and freshwater) environments. Here, we review avoidance behaviours in a comparative framework and highlight the characteristics of each environment that drive differences in the suite of mechanisms and cues that animals use to avoid parasites. We then explore trade-offs, potential negative effects of avoidance behaviour and the influence of human activities on avoidance behaviours. We conclude that avoidance behaviours are understudied in aquatic environments but can have significant implications for disease ecology and epidemiology, especially considering the accelerating emergence and re-emergence of parasites. ...