Comparative body size relationships in pocket gophers and their chewing lice

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2000
Authors:S. Morand, Hafner, M. S., Page, R. D. M., Reed, D. L.
Journal:Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Volume:70
Issue:2
Pagination:239 - 249
Date Published:2000
Keywords:analysis, body, coevolution, comparative, covariation, evolution, host, independent, life history, nematodes, parasite, phylogeny, size, traits
Abstract:

In this paper, we use the method of independent contrasts to study body size relationships between pocket gophers and their chewing lice, a host-parasite system in which both host and parasite pilylogenies are well studied. The evolution of body size of chewing lice appears to be dependent only on the body size of their hosts, which confirms the 1991 findings of Harvey and Keymer. We show that there is a positive relationship between body size and hair-shaft diameter in pocket gophers, and that there is also a positive relationship between body size and head-groove width in chewing lice. Finally, we show a positive relationship between gopher hair-shaft diameter and louse head-groove width. We postulate that changes in body size of chewing lice are driven by a mechanical relationship between the parasite's head-groove dimension and the diameter of the hairs of its host. Louse species living on larger host species may be larger simply because their hosts have thicker hairs, which requires that the lice have a wider head groove. Our study of gopher hair-shaft diameter and louse head-groove dimensions suggest that there is a 'lock-and-key' relationship between these two anatomical features. (C) 2000 The Linnean Society of London.

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