Models of coextinction identify parasites as one of the most menaced ecological groups. The number of host species a parasite uses should strongly affect its risk of coextinction. The naive expectation is that the lower the number, the higher is the parasite's risk of being left with no hosts. Here we analyse the coextinction risk of 12,141 fish parasite species and find that highly specific parasites are not the most endangered, because they tend to use hosts with low vulnerability to extinction. This unexpected result may explain why the number of documented host-parasite coextinctions is much lower than predicted by theoretical studies.

Fish parasites resolve the paradox of missing coextinctions

FATTORINI, SIMONE
2013-01-01

Abstract

Models of coextinction identify parasites as one of the most menaced ecological groups. The number of host species a parasite uses should strongly affect its risk of coextinction. The naive expectation is that the lower the number, the higher is the parasite's risk of being left with no hosts. Here we analyse the coextinction risk of 12,141 fish parasite species and find that highly specific parasites are not the most endangered, because they tend to use hosts with low vulnerability to extinction. This unexpected result may explain why the number of documented host-parasite coextinctions is much lower than predicted by theoretical studies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/111685
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