An experimental test of the effects of behavioral and immunological defenses against vectors: do they interact to protect birds from blood parasites?

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Publication Type pre-print
School or College College of Science
Department Biology
Creator Clayton, Dale H.
Other Author Waite, Jessica L.; Henry, Autumn R.; Owen, Jeb P.
Title An experimental test of the effects of behavioral and immunological defenses against vectors: do they interact to protect birds from blood parasites?
Date 2014-01-01
Description Background: Blood-feeding arthropods can harm their hosts in many ways, such as through direct tissue damage and anemia, but also by distracting hosts from foraging or watching for predators. Blood-borne pathogens transmitted by arthropods can further harm the host. Thus, effective behavioral and immunological defenses against blood-feeding arthropods may provide important fitness advantages to hosts if they reduce bites, and in systems involving pathogen transmission, if they lower pathogen transmission rate. Methods: We tested whether Rock Pigeons (Columba livia) have effective behavioral and immunological defenses against a blood-feeding hippoboscid fly (Pseudolynchia canariensis) and, if so, whether the two defenses interact. The fly vectors the blood parasite Haemoproteus columbae; we further tested whether these defenses reduced the transmission success of blood parasites when birds were exposed to infected flies. We compared four experimental treatments in which hosts had available both purported defenses, only one of the defenses, or no defenses against the flies. Results: We found that preening and immunological defenses were each effective in decreasing the survival and reproductive success of flies. However, the two defenses were additive, rather than one defense enhancing or decreasing the effectiveness of the other defense. Neither defense reduced the prevalence of H. columbae, nor the intensity of infection in birds exposed to infected flies. Conclusions: Flies experience reduced fitness when maintained on hosts with immunological or preening defenses. This suggests that if vectors are given a choice among hosts, they may choose hosts that are less defended, which could impact pathogen transmission in a system where vectors can choose among hosts.
Type Text
Publisher BioMed Central
Volume 7
Issue 104
First Page 1
Last Page 11
Language eng
Bibliographic Citation Waite, J. L., Henry, A. R., Owen, J. P., & Clayton, D. H. (2014). An experimental test of the effects of behavioral and immunological defenses against vectors: do they interact to protect birds from blood parasites?. Parasites and Vectors, 7(104), 1-11.
Rights Management (c) Clayton, Dale H. Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 1,420,250 bytes
Identifier uspace,18664
ARK ark:/87278/s6254t9b
Setname ir_uspace
Date Created 2014-05-19
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 712554
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6254t9b