Title
Bird song and parasites Bird song and parasites
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
Berlin ,
Subject
Psychology
Chemistry
Biology
Source (journal)
Behavioral ecology and sociobiology. - Berlin
Volume/pages
59(2005) :2 , p. 167-180
ISSN
0340-5443
ISI
000233041800001
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Bird song is a typical sexual trait that may have evolved at least partly to reflect health and vigor. However, the role of pathogens in modulating acoustic communication systems in birds is still less than clear as studies testing the relationship between parasites and song have provided inconsistent results both within and among species. It is often neglected that avian song is complex trait consisting of numerous and variable features with potentially different biological backgrounds. By using meta-analytic approaches to the available intraspecific evidence I demonstrate that different roles are applicable to song traits with different signal design, which could explain, to some extent, the inconsistency of results. I found that condition-dependent, performance-related traits are more closely related to immediate health status, whereas condition-independent features are more likely to be associated with intrinsically determined parasite resistance. Hence, parasitism may mediate the evolution of different acoustic features. Considering the signal function of songs, a communication system depends on the reaction of the receivers, but little is known about how mate choice and male-male competition are affected by parasite-mediated song production. This review of the literature thus suggests that receivers of songs may benefit by responding to these acoustic signals of health through the acquisition of resistance genes, paternal care of superior assistance, success in territory disputes, and the avoidance of directly transmitted parasites.
E-info
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