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Tests of association between the humoral immune response of red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and male plumage, testosterone, or reproductive success

Westneat, D F; Hasselquist, Dennis LU and Wingfield, J C (2003) In Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 53(5). p.315-323
Abstract
We explored the potential relationships between male traits, reproductive success, testosterone levels in the breeding season, and Immoral immunocompetence in male red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus). Males responded to a single injection of diphtheriatetanus vaccine by producing antibodies to both antigens. The primary responses to each antigen were positively correlated with each other, but the relationship was clearly non-linear. No male responded strongly to diphtheria without also responding strongly to tetanus, but many males had strong responses to tetanus and weak responses to diphtheria. Response to tetanus was positively associated with hormone levels, whereas the relationship between testosterone and the response to... (More)
We explored the potential relationships between male traits, reproductive success, testosterone levels in the breeding season, and Immoral immunocompetence in male red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus). Males responded to a single injection of diphtheriatetanus vaccine by producing antibodies to both antigens. The primary responses to each antigen were positively correlated with each other, but the relationship was clearly non-linear. No male responded strongly to diphtheria without also responding strongly to tetanus, but many males had strong responses to tetanus and weak responses to diphtheria. Response to tetanus was positively associated with hormone levels, whereas the relationship between testosterone and the response to diphtheria was weakly and nonsignificantly negative. We found no convincing relationships between immune responses and male morphological traits (epaulet size, body blackness, and body size), male success in male-male competition (territory size and tenure), or male reproductive success (number of mates, average clutch size, proportion of offspring sired, or proportion of young fledged). These results do not support testosterone acting as a constraint on immunity. Testosterone could be mediating a condition-dependent trade-off between sexual ornaments and the immune system, but the evidence for this was weak, as neither any male sexual trait nor any measure of performance was associated with immune responses. We could not eliminate the possibility that male sexual traits advertise other aspects of immunity that are not dependent upon condition or hormones. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
volume
53
issue
5
pages
315 - 323
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000182461400007
  • scopus:0038170367
ISSN
1432-0762
DOI
10.1007/s00265-003-0579-2
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e3d23d6f-a2c1-413a-8ee6-efd753a1bb1e (old id 137339)
date added to LUP
2007-06-25 12:58:30
date last changed
2018-11-21 20:40:22
@article{e3d23d6f-a2c1-413a-8ee6-efd753a1bb1e,
  abstract     = {We explored the potential relationships between male traits, reproductive success, testosterone levels in the breeding season, and Immoral immunocompetence in male red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus). Males responded to a single injection of diphtheriatetanus vaccine by producing antibodies to both antigens. The primary responses to each antigen were positively correlated with each other, but the relationship was clearly non-linear. No male responded strongly to diphtheria without also responding strongly to tetanus, but many males had strong responses to tetanus and weak responses to diphtheria. Response to tetanus was positively associated with hormone levels, whereas the relationship between testosterone and the response to diphtheria was weakly and nonsignificantly negative. We found no convincing relationships between immune responses and male morphological traits (epaulet size, body blackness, and body size), male success in male-male competition (territory size and tenure), or male reproductive success (number of mates, average clutch size, proportion of offspring sired, or proportion of young fledged). These results do not support testosterone acting as a constraint on immunity. Testosterone could be mediating a condition-dependent trade-off between sexual ornaments and the immune system, but the evidence for this was weak, as neither any male sexual trait nor any measure of performance was associated with immune responses. We could not eliminate the possibility that male sexual traits advertise other aspects of immunity that are not dependent upon condition or hormones.},
  author       = {Westneat, D F and Hasselquist, Dennis and Wingfield, J C},
  issn         = {1432-0762},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {315--323},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology},
  title        = {Tests of association between the humoral immune response of red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and male plumage, testosterone, or reproductive success},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-003-0579-2},
  volume       = {53},
  year         = {2003},
}