Thursday, March 19, 2015

19/03/2015: Infected shrimp turn on their own kind

It’s a familiar scenario these days: You get infected by some horrible parasite, and before you know it, you’re munching on your peers. That’s modern living for you.

Well, if you’re a shrimp, anyway.

But before we start shouting, “Zombie apocalypse in your seafood platter,” let’s be a little circumspect here.

First, according to Science Daily, the shrimp concerned are a little freshwater species from Northern Ireland which are rather unlikely to end up in your scampi. Second, even uninfected individuals of this species are at least occasional cannibals anyway. And finally, it’s far from certain that the parasite is actually taking over an infected shrimp’s nervous system, bending it to its will.
She knew those prawns hadn't tasted right
For the moment at least, researchers are tending towards the conclusion that the dietary change in sick shrimp is simply due to the limitations infection has placed on them: Their muscles are so loaded with the parasite that they can’t move them properly. So they can’t hunt effectively. As a result, they are forced to pick more and more on younger, smaller individuals of their own species.

And the fact they’re more voracious? Parasites will tend to trigger such behaviour – they’re taking the food meant for the host, so said host naturally has to eat more.

Case closed. At least for now.....

Read the original article HERE.

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