Interference and the persistence of vertically transmitted parasites

Edward Owen Jones, Andy White, Mike Boots

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Given their ubiquity in nature, understanding the factors that allow the persistence of multiple enemies and in particular vertically transmitted parasites (VTPs) is of considerable importance. Here a model that allows a virulent VTP to be maintained in a system containing a host and a horizontally transmitted parasite (HTP) is analysed. The method of persistence relies on the VTP offering the host a level of protection from the HTP. The VTP is assumed to reduce the HTPs ability to transmit to the host through ecological interference. We show that VTPs are more likely to persist with HTPs that prevent host reproduction than with those that allow it. The VTP persists more easily in r-selected hosts and with highly transmittable HTPs. As the level of protection through interference increases the densities of the host also increase. We also show that VTPs when they do persist tend to stabilise the host population cycles produced by free-living HTPs. The study raised questions about persistence of diseases through interactions with others, and also the stabilising effects of VTPs on dynamical systems in a biological control context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number1
Early online date12 Dec 2006
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


  • vertical transmission
  • horizontal transmission
  • protection
  • stability
  • interference


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