It sounds almost like science fiction: A parasite manipulates a fish’s behavior to make it seek out warmer water, probably by altering its brain chemistry. In the warmer environment, the parasite’s growth — and its capacity to infect other hosts — kicks into overdrive.
Those are the findings of a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology.
You could say that the parasite takes to warmth like a fish to water. Over the eight weeks of the study, tapeworm larvae grew four times faster in three-spined stickleback fish raised at 68 degrees Fahrenheit than in sticklebacks raised at 59 degrees.
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