Trade-offs between personal immunity and reproduction in the burying beetle, N. vespilloides

Reavey, Catherine E. and Warnock, Neil D. and Vogel, Heiko and Cotter, Sheena C. (2014) Trade-offs between personal immunity and reproduction in the burying beetle, N. vespilloides. Behavioral Ecology, 25 (2). pp. 415-423. ISSN 1045-2249

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Abstract

We know that parental investment and immune investment are costly processes, but it is unclear which trait will be prioritised when both may be required. Here we address this question using the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, carrion breeders that exhibit biparental care of young. Our results show that immunosuppression occurs during provision of parental care. We measured Phenoloxidase (PO) on Day 1-8 of the breeding bout and results show a clear decrease in PO immediately from presentation of the breeding resource onwards. Having established baseline immune investment during breeding we then manipulated immune investment at different times by applying a wounding challenge. Beetles were wounded prior to and during the parental care period and reproductive investment quantified. Different effects on reproductive output occur depending on the timing of wounding. Challenging the immune system with wounding prior to breeding does not affect reproductive output and subsequent Lifetime Reproductive Success (LRS). LRS is also unaffected by applying an immune elicitor prior to breeding, though different arms of the immune system are up/downregulated, perhaps indicating a trade-off between cellular and humoral immunity. In contrast, wounding during breeding reduces reproductive output and to the greatest extent if the challenge is applied early in the breeding bout. Despite being immunosuppressed, breeding beetles can still respond to wounding by increasing PO, albeit not to pre-breeding levels. This upregulation of PO during breeding may affect parental investment, resulting in a reduction in reproductive output. The potential role of juvenile hormone in controlling this trade-off is discussed.

Keywords:insect, Nicrophorus, parental care, Immunity, Reproduction, Trade-off, Juvenile Hormone, Phenoloxidase, Wounding, NotOAChecked
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C550 Immunology
C Biological Sciences > C111 Parasitology
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
C Biological Sciences > C150 Environmental Biology
C Biological Sciences > C340 Entomology
C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
C Biological Sciences > C110 Applied Biology
C Biological Sciences > C100 Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:16028
Deposited On:16 Nov 2014 17:46

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