Parasites that occupy the eyes of fish have the potential to affect visual perception and consequently alter the host’s behaviour, as these organs provide information about their surroundings. In an experimental study, the feeding behaviour of European perch (Perca fluviatilis) infested with the eye fluke Tylodelphys clavata was examined. The results showed that an individual’s ability to identify and approach food items was negatively affected by the infestation intensity of T. clavata. Additionally, the foraging success of an individual was reduced in competition with another, less heavily infested conspecific, when the same food resource was exploited. These alterations in the ability to locate food may have important consequences on the feeding strategy of the fish. Furthermore, the impaired feeding capability caused by T. clavata may also increase the predation risk as heavily infested fish need to spend more time foraging to attain a rate of food intake equivalent to less infested conspecifics.
Parasitology Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 27, 2017
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