Sticklebacks as model hosts in ecological and evolutionary parasitology

Iain Barber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Citations (SciVal)


The three-spined stickleback is a small teleost fish, native to coastal regions of the Northern Hemisphere, which has emerged as a key model organism in evolutionary biology and ecology. Sticklebacks possess a well-documented and experimentally amenable parasite fauna, and are well suited to both laboratory and field parasitological investigation. As a consequence, sticklebacks have been extensively used as model hosts in studies of host-parasite interactions, and these studies have provided considerable insight into the roles of parasites in ecology and evolutionary biology. In this review, I discuss key advances in our understanding of host-parasite interactions that have arisen from studies involving stickleback hosts, highlight areas of current research activity, and identify potentially promising areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-566
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Parasitology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2013


  • Gasterosteus aculeatus
  • schistocephalus solidus
  • parasitism
  • disease
  • host-parasite infection
  • evolutionary ecology


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