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Evolutionary Ecology Research, 2001, 3: 611632 2001 Sonia M. Altizer

Summary: Evolutionary Ecology Research, 2001, 3: 611­632
© 2001 Sonia M. Altizer
Migratory behaviour and host­parasite co-evolution
in natural populations of monarch butterflies
infected with a protozoan parasite
Sonia M. Altizer*
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul,
MN 55108, USA
The prevalence of the protozoan parasite, Ophryocystis elektroscirrha, varies dramatically
among natural populations of monarch butterflies. One potential cause of this variation is that
host resistance or parasite virulence differs among populations due to underlying variation in
host migratory behaviour and parasite transmission. In this study, I examined the geographic
variation in host and parasite characteristics using reciprocal cross-infection experiments, where
monarchs from three North American populations were exposed to parasites from native and
novel sources. I tested hosts and parasites from the following three populations: a continuously
breeding population in southern Florida, a population in western North America that migrates
relatively short distances and a population in eastern North America that migrates remarkably
long distances. Cross-infection experiments using hosts and parasites from the eastern and
western migratory populations demonstrated that western parasites caused higher mortality


Source: Altizer, Sonia M.- Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology