Reports

Parasite reproductive strategy and evolution of castration of hosts by parasites

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Science  27 Jun 1975:
Vol. 188, Issue 4195, pp. 1314-1316
DOI: 10.1126/science.1145198

Abstract

A modification of the Euler equation is used to describe a simple parasite life history in which survival decreases with age at a rate determined by mortality of the parasitized host. The advantages of castration of hosts by parasites are discussed using the modified equation in which castration is equivalent to reducing parasite virulence in the host to near zero or zero. It is suggested that castrating parasites can infest a wider range of hosts with higher mortality rates and that within parasite groups having castrating and noncastrating species, the former should infest hosts with higher mortality rates and relatively larger gonads.