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Parasites and invasions: changes in gastrointestinal helminth assemblages in invasive and native rodents in Senegal

Abstract : Understanding why some exotic species become widespread and abundant in their colonised range is a fundamental issue that still needs to be addressed. Among many hypotheses, newly established host populations may benefit from a parasite loss (''enemy release " hypothesis) through impoverishment of their original parasite communities or reduced infection levels. Moreover, the fitness of competing native hosts may be negatively affected by the acquisition of exotic taxa from invaders (''parasite spillover ") and/or by an increased transmission risk of native parasites due to their amplification by invaders (''parasite spill-back "). We focused on gastrointestinal helminth communities to determine whether these predictions could explain the ongoing invasion success of the commensal house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus) and black rat (Rattus rattus), as well as the associated decrease in native Mastomys spp., in Senegal. For both invasive species, our results were consistent with the predictions of the enemy release hypothesis. A decrease in overall gastrointestinal helminth prevalence and infracommunity species richness was observed along the invasion gradients as well as lower specific prevalence/abundance (Aspiculuris tetra-ptera in Mus musculus domesticus, Hymenolepis diminuta in Rattus rattus) on the invasion fronts. Conversely, we did not find strong evidence of GIH spillover or spillback in invasion fronts, where native and invasive rodents co-occurred. Further experimental research is needed to determine whether and how the loss of gastrointestinal helminths and reduced infection levels along invasion routes may result in any advantageous effects on invader fitness and competitive advantage. Ó
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Christophe Diagne, Alexis Ribas, Nathalie Charbonnel, Ambroise Dalecky, Caroline Tatard, et al.. Parasites and invasions: changes in gastrointestinal helminth assemblages in invasive and native rodents in Senegal. International Journal for Parasitology, Elsevier, 2016, 46 (13-14), pp.857-869. ⟨10.1016/j.ijpara.2016.07.007⟩. ⟨hal-01463796⟩

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