Supplementary material from Can pathogens optimize both transmission and dispersal by exploiting sexual dimorphism in their hosts?
2019-06-08T11:10:37Z (GMT) by
Pathogens often rely on their host for dispersal. Yet, maximizing fitness via replication can cause damage to the host and an associated reduction in host movement, incurring a trade-off between transmission and dispersal. Here, we test the idea that pathogens might mitigate this trade-off between reproductive fitness and dispersal by taking advantage of sexual dimorphism in their host; tailoring responses separately to males and females. Using experimental populations of Daphnia magna and its bacterial pathogen Pasteuria ramosa as a test-case, we find evidence that this pathogen can use male hosts as a dispersal vector, and the larger females as high-quality resource patches for optimized production of transmission spores. As sexual dimorphism in dispersal and body size is widespread across the animal kingdom, this differential exploitation of the sexes by a pathogen might be an unappreciated phenomenon, possibly evolved in various systems.