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Variation in male ornaments in two lizard populations with contrasting parasite loads



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Llanos Garrido, Alejandro and Díaz González-Serrano, José A. and Pérez Rodríguez, Antón David and Arriero Higueras, Elena (2017) Variation in male ornaments in two lizard populations with contrasting parasite loads. Journal of zoology, 303 (3). pp. 218-225. ISSN 0952-8369, ESSN: 1469-7998

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Official URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jzo.12478/full


In the context of the immunocompetence handicap hypothesis, we explored how differences in parasite load affect the way in which sexual ornaments codify information about individual quality. We studied variation in sexual signals in two Iberian populations of the lizard Psammodromus algirus, a species in which sexually active males display a red head coloration. In one population, males were free of tick nymphs, whereas in the other one all males were tick-infested (mean of 12.7 tick nymphs/individual).At the onset of the breeding season, the red-coloured surface was larger in the non-parasitized population than in the parasitized one, whereas the opposite was true for colour saturation. We experimentally simulated a bacterial infection (by intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide) to examine the effects of immune activation on the expression of this sexual ornament. In the non-parasitized population, our treatment caused a reduction in the red-coloured surface of experimental males, whereas in the parasitized population it caused a decrease in colour saturation. In the parasitized population, males that displayed sexual coloration were larger, and had fewer parasites, than uncoloured ones, and inflammatory response to lipopolysaccharide injection in the palm of the hind paw was negatively correlated with colour saturation, but not with colour extension. Thus, we suggest parasites not only constrained the expression of sexual ornaments, but they also changed the signal properties that conveyed useful information about the quality of their bearers.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Colour saturation; Immunity; LPS; Sexual selection; Signalling; Ornaments; Parasite load; Psammodromus algirus
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Reptiles
ID Code:44098
Deposited On:27 Jul 2017 09:44
Last Modified:10 Dec 2018 15:25

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