Folia Parasitologica, vol. 63 (2016)

Folia Parasitologica 63:039 (2016) | 10.14411/fp.2016.039

A new R package and web application for detecting bilateral asymmetry in parasitic infections

Matthew T. Wayland1, James C. Chubb2
1 Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK;
2 Department of Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour, Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

When parasites invade paired structures of their host non-randomly, the resulting asymmetry may have both pathological and ecological significance. To facilitate the detection and visualisation of asymmetric infections we have developed a free software tool, Analysis of Symmetry of Parasitic Infections (ASPI). This tool has been implemented as an R package (https://cran.r-project.org/package=aspi) and a web application (https://wayland.shinyapps.io/aspi). ASPI can detect both consistent bias towards one side, and inconsistent bias in which the left side is favoured in some hosts and the right in others. Application of ASPI is demonstrated using previously unpublished data on the distribution of metacercariae of species of Diplostomum von Nordmann, 1832 in the eyes of ruffe Gymnocephalus cernua (Linnaeus). Invasion of the lenses appeared to be random, with the proportion of metacercariae in the left and right lenses showing the pattern expected by chance. However, analysis of counts of metacercariae from the humors, choroid and retina revealed asymmetry between eyes in 38% of host fish.

Keywords: bilateral asymmetry, Trematoda, Diplostomum, fish, Gymnocephalus cernua, ruffe, software, statistical analysis

Received: July 3, 2016; Accepted: October 10, 2016; Published online: November 10, 2016



This article contains supporting information (Tables S1-S3) online at http://folia.paru.cas.cz/suppl/2016-63-039.pdf


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