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Malaria parasites, immune challenge, MHC variability, and predator avoidance in a passerine bird

AutorGaramszegi, László Z. ; Zagalska-Neubauer, Magdalena; Canal, David ; Markó, Gábor; Szász, Eszter; Zsebök, Sándor; Szöllosi, E.; Herczeg, Gábor; Török, János
Palabras claveBoldness
Flight initiation distance
Parasite mediated selection
Phenotypic correlation
Fecha de publicación2015
EditorOxford University Press
CitaciónBehavioral Ecology 26: 1292- 1302 (2015)
ResumenPublished by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology. All rights reserved. Several hypotheses predict a relationship between parasite burden and risk-taking behavior, but the underlying causal mechanisms are poorly understood due to the scarcity of experimental studies and the neglected focus on immune defense. Here, in 3 sets of field studies on the collared flycatcher, Ficedula albicollis, we investigated how among-male variation in flight initiation distance (FID, the distance at which an individual flee a potential predator) is linked to among-male variation in health status. First, we correlatively assessed the relationship between FID and the prevalence of haemosporidian blood parasites. We found no difference in risk-taking behavior between parasitized and nonparasitized individuals rejecting a hypothesis that predicts that malaria infection status affects the costs of predator avoidance. Second, we performed an immune challenge experiment, in which randomly chosen birds were injected with a novel antigen (sheep red blood cell) and their change in FID was compared with birds that received a placebo treatment. This experiment revealed no evidence for the immunological treatment affecting risk-taking behavior, thus we failed to obtain support for the hypothesis that posits that immediate health status mediates decisions about when to flee a predator. Finally, we detected a negative relationship between the number of alleles of the major histocompatibility complex and FID. This result, in concordance with the above negative results, supports the >avoidance> hypothesis that states that only individuals with efficient immune defense machinery are able to bear the costs of risk-taking that can emerge through the increased infection rates of risk-taker individuals.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1093/beheco/arv077
issn: 1465-7279
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