Size matters for lice on birds: Coevolutionary allometry of host and parasite body size

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2017
Authors:Harnos, A, Lang, Z, Petrás, D, Bush, SE, Szabó, K, Rózsa, L
Pagination:421 - 431
Date Published:Jan-02-2017
Keywords:Harrison’s rule, phylogenetic generalized least squares models, Poulin’s increasing variance hypothesis

Body size is one of the most fundamental characteristics of all organisms. It influences physiology, morphology, behavior, and even interspecific interactions such as those between parasites and their hosts. Host body size influences the magnitude and variability of parasite size according to Harrison’s rule (HR: positive relationship between host and parasite body sizes) and Poulin’s Increasing Variance Hypothesis (PIVH: positive relationship between host body size and the variability of parasite body size). We analyzed parasite–host body size allometry for 581 species of avian lice (#15% of known diversity) and their hosts. We applied phylogenetic generalized least squares (PGLS) methods to account for phylogenetic nonindependence controlling for host and parasite phylogenies separately and variance heterogeneity. We tested HR and PIVH for the major families of avian lice (Ricinidae, Menoponidae, Philopteridae), and for distinct ecological guilds within Philopteridae. Our data indicate that most fami- lies and guilds of avian lice follow both HR and PIVH; however, ricinids did not follow PIVH and the “body lice” guild of philopterid lice did not follow HR or PIVH. We discuss mathematical and ecological factors that may be responsible for these patterns, and we discuss the potential pervasiveness of these relationships among all parasites on Earth.

Short Title:Evolution
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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith