The results indicate that while fish were consistent in the exploration of the novel arena, related behaviours were not affected by parasite load.
Social behaviour, however, was clearly affected. Results indicate that fish with a Glugea anomala infection are more likely to peacefully team up with their conspecifics. Increased sociability is consistent with the findings of Ward et al (2005), and helps to explain increased shoaling behaviour.
Mehlhorn (2015) notes changes in antipredator behaviour as well as activity levels, but such effects were not observed in this study. Exploration behaviours were consistent, but not affected by parasite load, while in antipredator behaviour, there was no significant consistency.
According to the findings, Glugea anomala has an effect on the personality on the host, and the effect is different from that observed in the stickleback - Schistocephalus solidus system..
Finally, evidence of personality change in sticklebacks infected with Glugea anomala means the G. anomala / three-spined stickleback relationship can also be used to study the effect of parasites on host personality. That is important, because the complex, multi-species life cycle of S. solidus makes it rather resource-intensive and complicated to conduct artificial infections in a controlled environment. Glugea anomala spores, on the other hand, can be obtained from dead sticklebacks, and are much more easily introduced into an aquarium. Artificially infecting healthy sticklebacks may help decide whether the parasite truly manipulates the host or certain personalities are merely more likely to become infected.
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Last updated: 06/16/16