Advanced

Male coloration reveals different components of immunocompetence in ostriches, Struthio camelus

Bonato, Maud; Evans, Matthew R.; Hasselquist, Dennis LU and Cherry, Michael I. (2009) In Animal Behaviour 77(5). p.1033-1039
Abstract
It has been suggested that secondary sexual ornamentation signals male ability to resist infections, as only high-quality individuals are able to invest both in high immune defence and elaborate ornament expression. Such ornaments could thus serve as indicators of male quality and could be used by females in choosing mates. Ostriches are sexually dimorphic with regard to coloration of their feathers, bill, neck and legs, and have a promiscuous mating system, with a high degree of reproductive skew, particularly in males. We investigated the relationship between the coloration of the feathers, bill, neck and legs of 15 male ostriches, maintained in a breeding flock, and the cell-mediated (measured using a phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)... (More)
It has been suggested that secondary sexual ornamentation signals male ability to resist infections, as only high-quality individuals are able to invest both in high immune defence and elaborate ornament expression. Such ornaments could thus serve as indicators of male quality and could be used by females in choosing mates. Ostriches are sexually dimorphic with regard to coloration of their feathers, bill, neck and legs, and have a promiscuous mating system, with a high degree of reproductive skew, particularly in males. We investigated the relationship between the coloration of the feathers, bill, neck and legs of 15 male ostriches, maintained in a breeding flock, and the cell-mediated (measured using a phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) injection) and humoral components of their immune systems, as well as their heterophil: lymphocyte ratio. We found that male responses to PHA injection and humoral responses to tetanus were predicted by leg coloration, humoral responses to diphtheria were predicted by white feather coloration, and the heterophil: lymphocyte ratio was related to bill coloration. These traits, which relate to male immune capacity, are exposed during male-male interactions and courtship display, so we suggest that these visual cues could provide valuable information on male quality to females (as well as rival males), forming the basis of mate choice in this species. (C) 2009 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
male coloration, immunocompetence, ostrich, spectrophotometry, sexual selection, Struthio camelus
in
Animal Behaviour
volume
77
issue
5
pages
1033 - 1039
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000265283900008
  • scopus:64549135383
ISSN
1095-8282
DOI
10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.02.008
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
743bdf75-e19b-4a5f-979d-0cbf0e6e79e9 (old id 1400448)
date added to LUP
2009-06-15 14:03:58
date last changed
2017-01-01 04:49:36
@article{743bdf75-e19b-4a5f-979d-0cbf0e6e79e9,
  abstract     = {It has been suggested that secondary sexual ornamentation signals male ability to resist infections, as only high-quality individuals are able to invest both in high immune defence and elaborate ornament expression. Such ornaments could thus serve as indicators of male quality and could be used by females in choosing mates. Ostriches are sexually dimorphic with regard to coloration of their feathers, bill, neck and legs, and have a promiscuous mating system, with a high degree of reproductive skew, particularly in males. We investigated the relationship between the coloration of the feathers, bill, neck and legs of 15 male ostriches, maintained in a breeding flock, and the cell-mediated (measured using a phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) injection) and humoral components of their immune systems, as well as their heterophil: lymphocyte ratio. We found that male responses to PHA injection and humoral responses to tetanus were predicted by leg coloration, humoral responses to diphtheria were predicted by white feather coloration, and the heterophil: lymphocyte ratio was related to bill coloration. These traits, which relate to male immune capacity, are exposed during male-male interactions and courtship display, so we suggest that these visual cues could provide valuable information on male quality to females (as well as rival males), forming the basis of mate choice in this species. (C) 2009 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.},
  author       = {Bonato, Maud and Evans, Matthew R. and Hasselquist, Dennis and Cherry, Michael I.},
  issn         = {1095-8282},
  keyword      = {male coloration,immunocompetence,ostrich,spectrophotometry,sexual selection,Struthio camelus},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {1033--1039},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Animal Behaviour},
  title        = {Male coloration reveals different components of immunocompetence in ostriches, Struthio camelus},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.02.008},
  volume       = {77},
  year         = {2009},
}