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The expression of a sexually selected trait correlates with different immune defense components and survival in males of the American rubyspot.

Authors
  • Contreras-Garduño, J
  • Lanz-Mendoza, H
  • Córdoba-Aguilar, A
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Insect Physiology
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2007
Volume
53
Issue
6
Pages
612–621
Identifiers
PMID: 17451742
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Recent studies have suggested that courtship trait expression indicates immune strength. However, most studies have measured only one immune parameter, have not assessed individual differences in immune ability according to time and have not controlled for ecological differences among individuals after an immune challenge. In this work, we tested this hypothesis and controlled for these factors using males of the American rubyspot damselfly which bear a wing red spot whose size is evolutionarily maintained via male-male territorial competition. Our general hypothesis was that territorial, large-spotted males, had a better immune ability compared to nonterritorial, small-spotted males. We expected that the following variables were greater in territorial males compared to nonterritorial males: spot size, phenoloxidase (PO) and hydrolytic enzymatic (HE) activity in males challenged and nonchallenged with a nylon implant, PO and HE activity rate; PO activity after a Serratia marcescens challenge, and survival after a nylon challenge controlling for activity and feeding differences. We found that territorial males showed larger spot areas, greater PO and HE activity (independently of whether they were challenged or not), a higher rate of PO and HE activity (but only expressed at 8h), greater PO production after the bacterial challenge, and a higher survival after the challenge. These results corroborate that males with more pronounced sexual traits have a superior immune function.

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