Royal Society Publishing

Interspecific competition during transmission of two sympatric malaria parasite species to the mosquito vector

Rick E. L. Paul, Van Anh Ton Nu, Antoniana U. Krettli, Paul T. Brey


The role of species interactions in structuring parasite communities remains controversial. Here, we show that interspecific competition between two avian malaria parasite species, Plasmodium gallinaceum and P. juxtanucleare, occurs as a result of interference during parasite fertilization within the bloodmeal of the mosquito. The significant reduction in the transmission success of P. gallinaceum to mosquitoes, due to the co–infecting P. juxtanucleare, is predicted to have compromised its colonization of regions occupied by P. juxtanucleare and, thus, may have contributed to the restricted global distribution of P. gallinaceum. Such interspecies interactions may occur between human malaria parasites and, thus, impact upon parasite species epidemiology, especially in regions of seasonal transmission.

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