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Gone fishin'...
for scraps, and parasites!

April 01, 2013

Gone fishin'...<br/> for scraps, and parasites!

McGill University student Victor Frankel studies how biological invasions drive the transmission of emerging parasites in the Panama Canal

McGill University student Victor Frankel studies how biological invasions drive the transmission of emerging parasites in the Panama Canal. Frankel is working to figure out how, and why, these parasites move from one host to another as they infect snails, fish, and large vertebrates to complete their complex life-cycle in a novel ecological community.

"We think the human hand of selection for the peacock bass is a key factor for transmission," he says. Free-swimming parasite larvae emerging from snails should prefer to infect the fish that can best transmit the parasite to the next stage of the life-cycle. This seems to be the case for the peacock bass.

"When fishermen fillet fish at the marina and toss out the rest, pelicans and crocs gulp the parasite-filled carcasses of this popular sport-fish. Human activities move infected hosts to where the parasites want to be: in the belly of the beast!"

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