Male morph predicts investment in larval immune function in the dung beetle, Onthophagus taurus

Cotter, Sheena C., Beveridge, Maxine, Simmons, Leigh W. and , (2008) Male morph predicts investment in larval immune function in the dung beetle, Onthophagus taurus. Behavioral Ecology, 19 . pp. 331-337. ISSN 1045-2249

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Investment in immunity is costly, so that resource-based trade-offs between immunity and sexually-selected ornaments might be expected. The amount of resources that an individual can invest in each trait will be limited by the total resources available to them. It would therefore be informative to investigate how investment in immune function changes during growth or production of the sexual trait as resources are diverted to it. Using the dung beetle, Onthophagus taurus, which displays both sexual and male dimorphism in horn size, we examined changes in one measure of immune function, phenoloxidase activity, in the hemolymph of larvae prior to, and during horn growth. We found that phenoloxidase levels differed between small and large horned males throughout the final instar prior to the point where investment in horn growth was taking place. PO levels in females were intermediate to the two male morphs. These differences could not be accounted for by differences in condition, measured as hemolymph protein levels and weight. We suggest that the observed differences might be associated with sex and morph specific variation in juvenile hormone levels.

Additional Information:First published online: December 14, 2007
Keywords:condition-dependence, dimorphism, immunocompetence, phenoloxidase, sexual selection, trade-offs, oaopen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
C Biological Sciences > C340 Entomology
C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
C Biological Sciences > C100 Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:15966
Deposited On:11 Nov 2014 12:40

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