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Title: Long-term change in the parasite burden of shore crabs ( Hemigrapsus oregonensis and Hemigrapsus nudus ) on the northwestern Pacific coast of North America
The abundances of free-living species have changed dramatically in recent decades, but little is known about change in the abundance of parasitic species. We investigated whether populations of several parasites have shifted over time in two shore crab hosts, Hemigrapsus oregonensis and Hemigrapsus nudus, by comparing the prevalence and abundance of three parasite taxa in a historical dataset (1969–1970) to contemporary parasite abundance (2018–2020) for hosts collected from 11 intertidal sites located from Oregon, USA, to British Columbia, Canada. Our data suggest that the abundance of the parasitic isopod Portunion conformis has varied around a stable mean for the past 50 years. No change over time was observed for larval acanthocephalans. However, larval microphallid trematodes increased in prevalence over time among H. oregonensis hosts, from a mean of 8.4–61.8% between the historical and contemporary time points. The substantial increase in the prevalence of larval microphallid trematodes could be owing to increased abundances of their bird final hosts, increased production of parasite infective stages by snail intermediate hosts or both. Our study highlights the variability among parasite species in their temporal trajectories of change.
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Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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National Science Foundation
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