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Hooked on you: shape of attachment structures in cymothoid isopods reflects parasitic strategy.

Baillie, C, Welicky, RL, Hadfield, KA, Smit, NJ, Mariani, S and Beck, R (2019) Hooked on you: shape of attachment structures in cymothoid isopods reflects parasitic strategy. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 19 (1). ISSN 1471-2148

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BACKGROUND: Parasite attachment structures are critical traits that influence effective host exploitation and survival. Morphology of attachment structures can reinforce host specificity and niche specialisation, or even enable host switching. Therefore, it is important to understand the determinants of variation in attachment structures. Cymothoid isopods are striking ectoparasites of fishes that include the infamous 'tongue-biters.' They are known to parasitise hosts in one of four qualitatively distinct anatomical regions. Here, we quantify variation in cymothoid attachment structures - hook-like appendages called dactyli - and test whether differences in dactylus shape are correlated with parasite mode (where they attach), allometry, or both, using multivariate ordinary least squares regression. We also assess the influence of shared ancestry on shape using a molecular phylogeny to weight our models using phylogenetic generalised least squares regression. RESULTS: We find clear differences in shape between externally-attaching and internally-attaching cymothoids but also between anterior and posterior dactyli across various species with the same attachment mode. Allometric effects are significant for anterior but not posterior dactyli. Mouth-attaching species show greater shape variability than gill- and mouth-attaching species. We find no evidence that there are clade-specific patterns of association between parasite mode and dactylus shape. CONCLUSIONS: Parasite mode appears to be the main driver of attachment morphology. This likely reflects several components of parasite ecology including feeding and functional demands of attachment in different microhabitats. Geometric morphometric approaches to the quantification of shape variation of simple structures is an effective tool that provides new insights into the evolvability of parasite attachment.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0603 Evolutionary Biology, 0604 Genetics
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: BioMed Central
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2019 11:29
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 08:27
DOI or ID number: 10.1186/s12862-019-1533-x
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11771
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