Exposure to parasites increases promiscuity in a freshwater snail.
Soper DM., King KC., Vergara D., Lively CM.
Under the Red Queen hypothesis, outcrossing can produce genetically variable progeny, which may be more resistant, on average, to locally adapted parasites. Mating with multiple partners may enhance this resistance by further increasing the genetic variation among offspring. We exposed Potamopyrgus antipodarum to the eggs of a sterilizing, trematode parasite and tested whether this altered mating behaviour. We found that exposure to parasites increased the number of snail mating pairs and the total number of different mating partners for both males and females. Thus, our results suggest that, in host populations under parasite-mediated selection, exposure to infective propagules increases the rate of mating and the number of mates.