Seasonal and individual variation in gregarine parasite levels in the field crickets Gryllus veletis and G. pennsylvanicus

TitleSeasonal and individual variation in gregarine parasite levels in the field crickets Gryllus veletis and G. pennsylvanicus
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1987
AuthorsZuk M
JournalEcological Entomology
Volume12
Pagination341-348
KeywordsVARIATION
Abstract

1. Gregarines, debilitating protozoan gut parasites, were monitored in two species of field cricket, Gryllus veletis (Alexander and Bigelow) and G. pennsylvanicus Burmeister, in northern Michigan in 1983 and 1984. 2. Gregarines were found in 31-51% of G. veletis individuals and 50-70% of G. pennsylvanicus. 3. Males were more heavily infected than females in G. veletis, but G. pennsylvanicus males and females had nearly equal infection levels; this disparity resulted in an overall lower infection rate for G. veletis. 4. Both species had fewer gregarines in 1983 than in 1984, possibly due to the adverse effect of drier conditions in 1983 on development of parasite cysts in the soil. 5. Levels of infection were not constant throughout the breeding season for either cricket species. 6. Body size was not correlated with parasite load in either G. veletis or G. pennsylvanicus. 7. Adult age was unrelated to gregarine level in G. veletis, whereas G. pennsylvanicus showed a positive correlation between adult age and parasite load during two non-consecutive weeks of the breeding season.