13 Dec '11, 1pm

Green Blog: Warming World Abets a Fish Parasite, Study Suggests

It sounds almost like science fiction: A parasite manipulates a fish’s behavior to make it seek out warmer water, probably by altering its brain chemistry. In the warmer environment, the parasite’s growth — and its capacity to infect other hosts — kicks into overdrive. Those are the findings of a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology. University of Leicester A stickleback with four parasites recovered from its body cavity. You could say that the parasite takes to warmth like a fish to water. Over the eight weeks of the study, tapeworm larvae grew four times faster in three-spined stickleback fish raised at 68 degrees Fahrenheit than in sticklebacks raised at 59 degrees. The infected sticklebacks were not so fortunate. Aside from having their bodies swollen with larval tapeworm, the host grew at a slower rate at the higher temperatures. But ...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/warming-world-a...

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