Parasites often elude effective recognition or attack (or both) by the host immune system, for example, though a tegument that possesses nonimmunogenic features. However, a general activation of host defense due to independent stimuli may increase immune activity to a level where such disguises are no longer effective, resulting in the clearance of an infection. We experimentally infected three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) with the cestode Schistocephalus solidus. To independently foster a general immune response a few days later, we cut the tips of spines in some fish and sham-treated other fish. Cutting spines significantly reduced the prevalence of the infection. The injury evoked a physiological reaction that helped to clear a hidden parasite infection.
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