Behavioural manipulation in a grasshopper harbouring hairworm
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Behavioural Manipulation in a Grasshopper Harbouring Hairworm. By: Melissa Neis Biology 4800. Examples of Altered Behaviour Systems. Plasmodium Whirling Disease Dicrocoelium Leucochloridium. Hairworm and Grasshopper. Life Cycle.

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Behavioural manipulation in a grasshopper harbouring hairworm

Behavioural Manipulation in a Grasshopper Harbouring Hairworm

By: Melissa Neis

Biology 4800

Examples of altered behaviour systems
Examples of Altered Behaviour Systems Hairworm

  • Plasmodium

  • Whirling Disease

  • Dicrocoelium

  • Leucochloridium

Life cycle
Life Cycle Hairworm

How is the parasite manipulating the grasshoppers behaviour
How is the Parasite Manipulating the Grasshoppers Behaviour? Hairworm

Host: Long-Horned Grasshopper (Meconema thalassinum)

Hairworm: Spinochordodes tellinii

System studied
System Studied Hairworm

  • Examined the proteome expression of grasshoppers using gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry

  • Collected specifically male grasshoppers to prevent sex specific results

  • Five groups Studied:

  • During Manipulation (DM)

    2. Uninfected at Night (Control: NC)

  • Before Manipulation (BM)

  • Uninfected during the day (control: ND)

  • After manipulation (AM)

Results Hairworm



Genetic Distance

Protein Spot Presence/Absence

Results Hairworm

What they discovered
What they discovered…. Hairworm

  • There were 6 proteins only present in the brains of manipulated grasshoppers.

  • However only two of those were produced by the hairworm acting as a form of protein mimicry.

  • They discovered that the over production of proteins pQ and pY produced by the hairworm acted on the development on the CNS of the grasshopper

Discussion Hairworm

  • The expression of the 6 proteins in the manipulated grasshopper’s brain were believed to be the result of host immune response to the hairworm.

  • One protein is involved in directional movement

  • Two as neurotransmitters

  • One Involved with host apoptosis: regulation of cell death which is believed to induce a host inflammatory response

Conclusions Hairworm

  • Hairworm can alter the behaviour of the grasshopper by the production of biochemical interactions which cause the production of effective molecules which act directly on the host CNS

References Hairworm

  • Biron et al. (2005). Behavioural manipulation in a grasshopper harbouring hairworm: a proteomics approach, 272, 2117-2126

Questions? Hairworm