Cannibalism and Infectious Disease: Friends or Foes?

  title={Cannibalism and Infectious Disease: Friends or Foes?},
  author={Benjamin G. Van Allen and Forrest P. Dillemuth and Andrew J. Flick and Matthew J Faldyn and David R. Clark and Volker H. W. Rudolf and Bret D. Elderd},
  journal={The American Naturalist},
  pages={299 - 312}
Cannibalism occurs in a majority of both carnivorous and noncarnivorous animal taxa from invertebrates to mammals. Similarly, infectious parasites are ubiquitous in nature. Thus, interactions between cannibalism and disease occur regularly. While some adaptive benefits of cannibalism are clear, the prevailing view is that the risk of parasite transmission due to cannibalism would increase disease spread and, thus, limit the evolutionary extent of cannibalism throughout the animal kingdom. In… 
Disease, contagious cannibalism, and associated population crash in an omnivorous bug, Geocoris pallens
California populations of the omnivorous predatory bug Geocoris pallens are subject to infection by a pathogen that elicits elevated expression of cannibalism, and population crashes appear to reflect the combined consequences of direct virulence—adverse pathogen effects on the infected host’s physiology—and indirect virulence-mortality of both infected and uninfected individuals due to elevated cannibalism expression by infected individuals.
Cannibalistic necrophagy in red foxes: do the nutritional benefits offset the potential costs of disease transmission?
Observations of cannibalistic necrophagy in red foxes provide direct evidence against the parasite-avoidance hypothesis, suggesting that carnivore and conspecific carcasses can represent an alternative trophic resource for foxes in certain areas and circumstances.
Resource competition explains rare cannibalism in the wild in livebearing fishes
Abstract Cannibalism, the act of preying on and consuming a conspecific, is taxonomically widespread, and putatively important in the wild, particularly in teleost fishes. Nonetheless, most studies
Do scavengers prevent or promote disease transmission? The effect of invertebrate scavenging on Ranavirus transmission
It was found that removal of infectious carcasses by scavengers strongly reduced transmission to naive larvae, suggesting that at least in systems in which conspecific necrophagy is common, the scavenger community can play an important role in reducing transmission.
Pupal cannibalism by worker honey bees contributes to the spread of deformed wing virus
It is demonstrated that cannibalization of DWV-infected pupae resulted in high levels of this virus in worker bees and that the acquired virus was then transmitted between bees via trophallaxis, allowing circulation of Varroa-vectored DWV variants without the mites.
Plant induced defenses that promote cannibalism reduce herbivory as effectively as highly pathogenic herbivore pathogens.
Plant induced defenses may benefit plants by increasing cannibalism among insect herbivores. However, the general efficacy of plant defenses that promote cannibalism remains unclear. Using a
The underappreciated extent of cannibalism and ophiophagy in African cobras.
This research sets out to understand how feeding and competition for spatially- and temporally-patchy resources drives interspecific competition between two species of African snakes and how those processes might change in the future.
Canibalism in the larval instars of Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith, 1797) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae): temperature and food quantity
Investigation of the factors temperature and food quantity on the cannibal behavior in instars of this insect under laboratory conditions found the amount of 15 g of artificial diet is sufficient to feed the 3rd and 4th instar larval for 72h, regardless of temperature.
Consequences of caterpillar-egg cannibalism on the ontogeny of Heliconius erato phyllis (Fabricius, 1775) (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae)
Differences in the development and survival to maturity of cannibal and non-cannibal caterpillars of this butterfly are analyzed, as estimates of the costs and benefits of cannibalistic andNon-Cannibalistic behavior are calculated.


The epidemiology and evolution of parasite transmission through cannibalism.
It is shown theoretically that cannibalism can enhance disease spread by consistently transferring infections from low quality to high quality hosts that are more infectious via horizontal transmission.
Eaten alive: cannibalism is enhanced by parasites
Investigation of the effects of a common parasite on the cannibalism rate of its host finds parasitism, by enhancing cannibalism rates, may have previously unrecognized effects on stage structure and population dynamics for cannibalistic species and may also act as a selective pressure leading to changes in resource use.
Disease transmission by cannibalism: rare event or common occurrence?
It is shown that group cannibalism, i.e. shared consumption of victims, is a necessary condition for disease spread by cannibalism in the absence of alternative transmission modes, consistent with a review of the literature showing that diseases transmitted by cannibalisms are infrequent in animals, even though both cannibalism and trophic transmission are very common.
Cannibalism amplifies the spread of vertically transmitted pathogens.
It is shown that cannibalism increases the prevalence of vertically transmitted pathogens whenever the host population density is not solely regulated by cannibalism, presenting a strong case for the role of cannibalism in the spread of infectious diseases across a wide range of parasite-host systems.
Pathogens as a factor limiting the spread of cannibalism in tiger salamanders
This work examined how pathogens affect variation in the incidence of cannibalism in tiger salamander larvae (Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum), which occur as two environmentally-induced morphs, typicals and cannibals.
Cannibalism in Natural Populations
It is shown that cannibalism is a normal phenomenon in many natural populations, to evaluate its possible roles in influencing demo­ graphic structure and population processes, and to suggest conditions for, and constraints on, its occurrence.
Pathogen transmission as a selective force against cannibalism
It is suggested that pathogen transmission is an important cost of cannibalism and provide a general explanation for why cannibalism is infrequent in most species.
Cannibalism in teleost fish
It is considered that cannibalism deserves more attention from fish biologists, and investigations should recognize the different types of cannibalistic interaction, and, in particular, should explore the different implications of kin and nonkin cannibalism.
Host-Parasite Relations, Vectors, and the Evolution of Disease Severity
A widespread contention in the parasitological and medical literature is that severe disease represents a lack of coadaption between host and parasite2 because parasite species that do not harm their
Trophic Interactions: Similarity of Parasitic Castrators to Parasitoids
  • A. Kuris
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    The Quarterly Review of Biology
  • 1974
An analysis of life history features of insect parasitoids and crustacean parasitic castrators suggests that these are similar trophic phenomena, distinct from parasitism and predation, and may be more widespread than is generaly considered.