Studies generally have neglected parasite-centric views in explorations of whether the oft-seen patterns of parasite aggregation are adaptive. Using simulation models, we explored the effects of aggregation on coinfection with hetero- or conspecific parasite species characterised by different mean abundances. Increasing aggregation increased the probability of conspecific co-occurrence for parasites with low mean abundances, and increased median numbers of conspecifics for all species. In comparison, increasing aggregation generally decreased the probability, intensity and diversity of heterospecific co-occurrence, irrespective of mean abundance. Researchers should weigh the respective costs and benefits of increasing co-occurrence with conspecifics and decreasing coinfection with heterospecifics in explaining aggregation.

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Keywords Aggregation, Co-occurrence, Coinfection, Group formation, Interspecific interactions
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Journal International Journal for Parasitology
Morrill, A. (André), Dargent, F. (Felipe), & Forbes, M. (2017). Explaining parasite aggregation: More than one parasite species at a time. International Journal for Parasitology. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2016.11.005