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Self-medication in insects: current evidence and future perspectives

Abbott, Jessica LU (2014) In Ecological Entomology 39(3). p.273-280
Abstract
1. Self-medication is an ability to consume or otherwise contact biologically active organic compounds specifically for the purpose of helping to clear a (parasitic) infection or reduce its symptoms. Consumption of these compounds may either take place before the infection is contracted (prophylactic consumption) or after the infection is contracted (therapeutic consumption). 2. An important insight is that self-medication is a form of adaptive plasticity, and as such, consumption of the medicinal substance when uninfected must impose a fitness cost (otherwise the substance would be universally consumed). This distinguishes self-medication from several closely related phenomena such as microbiome effects or compensatory diet choice. 3. A... (More)
1. Self-medication is an ability to consume or otherwise contact biologically active organic compounds specifically for the purpose of helping to clear a (parasitic) infection or reduce its symptoms. Consumption of these compounds may either take place before the infection is contracted (prophylactic consumption) or after the infection is contracted (therapeutic consumption). 2. An important insight is that self-medication is a form of adaptive plasticity, and as such, consumption of the medicinal substance when uninfected must impose a fitness cost (otherwise the substance would be universally consumed). This distinguishes self-medication from several closely related phenomena such as microbiome effects or compensatory diet choice. 3. A number of recent studies have convincingly demonstrated self-medication within several different, distantly-related, insect taxa. Here I review evidence of self-medication in the wooly bear caterpillar Grammia incorrupta Edwards, the armyworm Spodoptera Guenee, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, the monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus Kluk, and the honey bee Apis mellifera Linnaeus. 4. These studies show not only that self-medication is possible, but that the target of the medication behaviour may in some cases be kin rather than self. They also reveal very few general patterns. I therefore end by discussing future prospects within the field of insect self-medication. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Apis, Danaus, Drosophila, Grammia, pharmacophagy, social immunity, zoopharmacognosy
in
Ecological Entomology
volume
39
issue
3
pages
273 - 280
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000335751300001
  • scopus:84900017434
ISSN
1365-2311
DOI
10.1111/een.12110
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0ede224b-1224-4be5-ad49-586077f99abd (old id 4558928)
date added to LUP
2014-07-17 13:48:46
date last changed
2017-11-12 03:15:12
@article{0ede224b-1224-4be5-ad49-586077f99abd,
  abstract     = {1. Self-medication is an ability to consume or otherwise contact biologically active organic compounds specifically for the purpose of helping to clear a (parasitic) infection or reduce its symptoms. Consumption of these compounds may either take place before the infection is contracted (prophylactic consumption) or after the infection is contracted (therapeutic consumption). 2. An important insight is that self-medication is a form of adaptive plasticity, and as such, consumption of the medicinal substance when uninfected must impose a fitness cost (otherwise the substance would be universally consumed). This distinguishes self-medication from several closely related phenomena such as microbiome effects or compensatory diet choice. 3. A number of recent studies have convincingly demonstrated self-medication within several different, distantly-related, insect taxa. Here I review evidence of self-medication in the wooly bear caterpillar Grammia incorrupta Edwards, the armyworm Spodoptera Guenee, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, the monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus Kluk, and the honey bee Apis mellifera Linnaeus. 4. These studies show not only that self-medication is possible, but that the target of the medication behaviour may in some cases be kin rather than self. They also reveal very few general patterns. I therefore end by discussing future prospects within the field of insect self-medication.},
  author       = {Abbott, Jessica},
  issn         = {1365-2311},
  keyword      = {Apis,Danaus,Drosophila,Grammia,pharmacophagy,social immunity,zoopharmacognosy},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {273--280},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Ecological Entomology},
  title        = {Self-medication in insects: current evidence and future perspectives},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/een.12110},
  volume       = {39},
  year         = {2014},
}