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Ashley Collier: Effects of Parasitic I nfection on Cover Seeking in the Darkling Beetle: Implications for increased transfer of complex life cycle parasites to final hosts. Problem.

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Ashley Collier: Effects of Parasitic Infection on Cover Seeking in the Darkling Beetle: Implications for increased transfer of complex life cycle parasites to final hosts

problem
Problem
  • The Darkling Beetle (Tenebriomolitor) is the intermediate host for the rat tapeworm (Hymenolepisdiminuta) and the rat is the final host.
  • Studies have shown that the rat tapeworm influences, its host, the darkling beetle’s behavior in a way that would increase the predation rates of the intermediate host.
  • I am currently studying the effects of the parasite on infected beetles’ path complexity, however, I observed beetles at further points of infection where more likely to leave the grid landscape.
literature
Literature
  • Sheiman et al. 2006 (H. diminutainfected T. molitorbeetles are less trainable and are less likely to learn)
  • Shea 2005 (H. diminutaas a physiological effect on the T. molitorbeetle)
  • Pappas et al. 1995 (T. Molitor beetles are more likely to consume feces infected with tapeworms)
question hypothesis
Question & Hypothesis
  • Question:
    • Does the parasite (H……) effect the host’s (T. ….) ability to escape the grid at further points of infection?
  • Hypothesis:
    • Beetles at further points of infection will not leave the graph as often as beetles that are in an early point of infection or are not infected at all.
methods
Methods
  • Both infected and non-infected beetles will be studied
  • They will be kept in uniform conditions and fed a diet of carrots
  • They will be placed at the center of a grid landscape like the figure below and each trial will be two minutes long
  • Grid is 50 cm X 50 cm

Beetle is circled in orange

Beetle being tracked

methods continued
Methods Continued
  • If the beetle leaves the grid before the two minutes are over, the trial will immediately be ended.
  • The trials will end as soon as the beetles leave the grid
  • Time that was left of the two minute trial whn beetle left grid will be recorded
  • Beetles will be post-mortem dissections will be preformed to confirm infection

Beetle being tracked

Beetle being tracked

Beetle being tracked

Beetle being tracked

Beetle being tracked

Beetle being tracked

limitations
Limitations
  • Controlling pheromone residue on grid landscape
  • Beetles may follow the pheromones from previous beetles
  • We will be able to compare data sheets between beetles to see if this is an issue
significance
Significance
  • If beetles, whom are further along in their infection, are unable to seek cover it will increase their likeliness of predation by a rat.
  • This will increase parasite transmission between intermediate and final hosts