Evol Ecol Res 4: 919-929 (2002)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Dead and alive parasites: sexual ornaments signal resistance in the male fish, Rutilus rutilus

Jouni Taskinen* and Raine Kortet

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Box 35 (YAC.341), FIN-40351 Jyväskylä, Finland

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: jtaskine@cc.jyu.fi


The Hamilton and Zuk hypothesis proposed that male sexual ornaments could signal resistance against local co-evolving parasites. We examined the ornamentation – the breeding tubercles – of roach from five populations in relation to (a) parasite load (intensity/prevalence; five species), (b) host resistance (proportion of dead parasites; two species), (c) immune function (spleen size) and (d) somatic condition. The gill endo-parasite Rhipidocotyle campanula was locally the most prevalent and abundant among the five parasite species studied. Ornamentation correlated positively with the proportion of dead R. campanula, but not with the other parameters or the other parasite species. This suggests that ornamentation may signal a male’s ability to eliminate local parasites as expected by the hypothesis. Furthermore, we propose that the proportion of dead parasites in a host may provide a useful measure of its resistance, since it might be a species-specific, direct, long-term measure of host immunological response.

Keywords: co-evolution, expression of secondary sexual characters, Hamilton and Zuk, sexual selection.

IF you are connected using the IP of a subscribing institution (library, laboratory, etc.)
or through its VPN.


        © 2002 Jouni Taskinen. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

       Subscribing institutions/libraries may grant individuals the privilege of making a single copy of an EER article for non-commercial educational or non-commercial research purposes. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also use articles for non-commercial educational purposes by making any number of copies for course packs or course reserve collections. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also loan single copies of articles to non-commercial libraries for educational purposes.

       All copies of abstracts and articles must preserve their copyright notice without modification.