Female Biased Parasitism and the Importance of Host Generation Overlap in a Sexually Transmitted Parasite of Beetles
Seeman, OD and Nahrung, HF, Female Biased Parasitism and the Importance of Host Generation Overlap in a Sexually Transmitted Parasite of Beetles, Journal of Parasitology, 90, (1) pp. 114-118. ISSN 0022-3395 (2004) [Refereed Article]
Sexual transmission is a widespread means of infection, but apart from those in humans, the ecology of sexually transmitted organisms is not well known. In this study, we present an ecological study of a sexually transmitted mite, Parobia husbandi Seeman and Nahrung (Acari: Podapolipidae), that lives beneath the elytra of Chrysophtharta agricola (Chapuis) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). In each of 2 yr, prevalence of mites on beetles began each spring at about 10-20% but gradually increased to 80-100% by late summer. Overlap of adult beetle generations at this time (i.e., the parental generation mating with the F1 generation) is essential for the persistence of these mites. Mites exhibited temporal change in their spatial distribution on beetles; these changes were probably a response to beetle activity (e.g., emergence from diapause) and the need for dispersal from parental to F1 generation beetles. Prevalence and mean intensity of mites was higher on female beetles compared with male beetles. Female bias of sexually transmitted infection has been predicted in animals but hitherto observed only in primates. We speculate that variable male mate-finding success is the cause of these sex-based differences of mite infections, and that female bias in sexually transmitted disease (STD) infection will be widespread in the animal kingdom.