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It’s all connected: Parasite communities of a wild house mouse population exist in a network of mixed positive and negative associations across guilds
  • +5
  • Jonathan Fenn,
  • Andrew Wolfenden,
  • Stuart Young,
  • Sarah Goertz,
  • Ann Lowe,
  • Andrew MacColl,
  • Christopher Taylor,
  • Jan Bradley
Jonathan Fenn
University of Nottingham
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Andrew Wolfenden
University of Nottingham
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Stuart Young
IUCN SSC Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group
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Sarah Goertz
University of Nottingham
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Ann Lowe
University of Nottingham
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Andrew MacColl
University of Nottingham
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Christopher Taylor
University of Nottingham
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Jan Bradley
University of Nottingham
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Abstract

1. Wild animal populations typically harbour multiple parasite species, which can interact in various ways depending on the species involved and the state of the host upon infection. While many pairwise parasite interactions and within-guild parasite communities have been characterised, understanding how an interaction network spanning multiple parasite groups might be mediated has been less commonly explored. 2. We aimed to characterise parasites associations across guilds in a wild population of a model species, allowing for comparisons with existing laboratory-based research, and better understanding of how any observed associations might manifest within the host. 3. We used cross-sectional data from an island population of the house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, to identify associations between a broad range of parasite species, including blood-borne microparasites, arthropod ectoparasites, and gastrointestinal and hepatic helminths. 4. Every recorded species was found to exist within a framework of positive and negative associations, involving multiple between-guild associations, and with the under-studied helminth species Calodium hepaticum playing a central role. 5. This study highlights the need to account for as many infections as possible when studying naturally infected populations, due to the prevalence of inter-species associations. Various potential mechanisms, including immunological and ecological, are suggested to explain how these associations might occur. Comparisons with analogous laboratory research from the same species are explored. A need for longitudinal study to determine causality of interactions is highlighted.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

17 Jan 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
22 Jan 2020Assigned to Editor
22 Jan 2020Submission Checks Completed
03 Feb 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
11 Mar 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
17 Mar 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor