Title
Seasonal changes in parasite load and a cellular immune response in a colour polymorphic lizard Seasonal changes in parasite load and a cellular immune response in a colour polymorphic lizard
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
Berlin ,
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
Oecologia. - Berlin
Volume/pages
163(2010) :4 , p. 867-874
ISSN
0029-8549
ISI
000280083300005
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Permanent colour polymorphisms may be maintained by complex interactions between physiological traits (e.g. immunity) and environmental pressures. In this study we investigate morph specific variation in parasite load and cellular immune response (induced by a Phytohaemagglutinin, PHA injection) in a colour polymorphic population of the Dalmatian wall lizard (Podarcis melisellensis), where adult males have bright white, yellow or orange throats and ventral sides. Orange males have larger heads and can bite harder than the others. To examine seasonal effects, analyses were performed at an early and late stage in the reproductive season (May and September). Infection with mites and ticks did not differ among morphs, but was more severe at the end of the reproductive season. Fewer orange individuals were infected with haemogregarines at the end of the season, but white males were always more infected (higher number of haemogregarines in their blood) than other morphs. White and yellow males showed an increased PHA response towards the end of the season, but PHA response decreased in the orange morph. Finally, across all morphs, a relationship was found between ectoparasite load and PHA response. Our study provides indications of alternative life-history strategies among colour morphs and evidence for an up-regulation of the immune function at the end of the reproductive season.
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