Publication
Title
Immunocompetence and parasite infestation in a melanistic and normally-coloured population of the lacertid lizard, **Podarcis siculus**
Author
Abstract
Melanism is the occurrence of individuals that are darker in skin pigmentation than their conspecifics, which is a common colour polymorphism among vertebrates. Due to the pleotropic effects of the POMC gene that is responsible for melanin-based colouration, dark pigmentation often co-varies with a range of other phenotypic traits. Still, not much is known on the link between melanin-based colouration and immunity in lizards. In this study, we examined and compared the immunocompetence and degree of ectoparasite infestation of Podarcis siculus lizards from a fully melanistic population on an islet in the Tyrrhenian Sea, with conspecifics from a normally-coloured population on the mainland. Our findings show that both males and females from the melanistic population were less parasitized by ectoparasites and had a greater cellular immune response to a phytohemagglutinin injection than normally-coloured conspecifics. This outcome is in line with the genetic link hypothesis, which predicts that melanistic individuals will be more resistant to parasites than non-melanistic individuals due to the pleiotropic POMC gene. In addition, we found correlative evidence for a link between ectoparasite load and PHA immune response, but this was only true for males from the normally-coloured population. Immunological data on additional melanistic and non-melanistic populations of Podarcis siculus in the Mediterranean basin would provide us better insight into patterns of co-variation between immunity and melanism in lizards.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Amphibia-reptilia. - -, 1980, currens
Amphibia-reptilia. - -, 1980, currens
Publication
2018
ISSN
0173-5373 [print]
1568-5381 [online]
Volume/pages
39 :4 (2018) , p. 471-478
ISI
000455989100006
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Project info
Molecular and functional bases of insular melanism in lacertid lizards.
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 21.11.2018
Last edited 08.11.2021
To cite this reference