For my dissertation research I am looking at how two trematode parasites manipulate the personality and physiology of California killifish (their second intermediate host) following infection. Because parasites often become locally adapted to their hosts, the ideal killifish for my experiments are killifish that are uninfected, but have a recent evolutionary history with the parasites. Uninfected killifish in populations that co-occur with the parasites are difficult to acquire, as killifish become infected by the brain-infecting parasite I study very soon after hatching. It’s a tough world out there for the killifish!
Because the killifish are infected by such a young age, the best solution is to acquire eggs from infected California killifish adults and raise these eggs in the lab. The amazing Alejandra Jaramillo collected California killifish eggs for me, and I have been raising them in the lab. The eggs have hatched (!), and I made a video documenting their development. The video quality isn’t great and I admit it’s all a bit corny, but I’m so excited about having the “right” kind of hosts for my upcoming experiments that I couldn’t help myself. Here is the video: