Testing hypotheses about parasite-mediated selection using odonate hosts
Parasites are thought to select for host traits, such as elaborate ornaments and intricate immune systems. Dragonflies have proven useful hosts for studying parasite-mediated selection. This chapter summarizes whether parasites exert fitness costs on their dragonfly hosts and affect signals and the mating success of males. It also reviews determinants of resistance against ectoparasitic mites, which is present in many dragonfly species and introduces recent work suggesting that host gender and age influence immunological responses to bacterial and artificial challenges. The chapter highlights that the likelihood of demonstrating parasite-mediated selection might depend on whether or not the species being considered is a generalist parasite. New ideas on elucidating how dragonfly prey species should deal with threats from multiple enemies, such as predators and parasites, are considered.
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