A direct physiological trade-off between personal and social immunity

Cotter, Sheena C., Littlefair, Joanne E., Grantham, Peter J. and Kilner, Rebecca M. (2013) A direct physiological trade-off between personal and social immunity. Journal of Animal Ecology, 82 (4). pp. 846-853. ISSN 0021-8790

Cotter et al 2013 preprint.pdf
Cotter et al 2013 preprint.pdf

Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


1. Recent work shows that organisms possess two strategies of immune response: personal immunity, which defends an individual, and social immunity, which protects other individuals, such as kin. However, it is unclear how individuals divide their limited resources between protecting themselves and protecting others.
2. Here, with experiments on female burying beetles, we challenged the personal immune system and measured subsequent investment in social immunity (antibacterial activity of the anal exudates).
3. Our results show that increased investment in one aspect of personal immunity (wound repair) causes a temporary decrease in one aspect of the social immune response.
4. Our experiments further show that by balancing investment in personal and social immunity in this way during one breeding attempt, females are able to defend their subsequent lifetime reproductive success.
5. We discuss the nature of the physiological trade-off between personal and social immunity in species that differ in the degree of eusocality and coloniality, and suggest that it may also vary within species in relation to age and partner contributions to social immunity.

Keywords:antibacterial, ecological immunology, insect, lysozyme, Nicrophorus, wounding
Subjects: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:16023
Deposited On:16 Nov 2014 18:59

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