Experimental evolution reveals trade-offs between mating and immunity

Kathryn Mcnamara, N. Wedell, Leigh Simmons

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Immune system maintenance and upregulation is costly. Sexual selection intensity, which increases male investment into reproductive traits, is expected to create trade-offs with immune function. We assayed phenoloxidase (PO) and lytic activity of individuals from populations of the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella, which had been evolving under different intensities of sexual selection.We found significant divergence among populations, with males from female-biased populations having lower PO activity than males from balanced sex ratio or male-biased populations. There was no divergence in anti-bacterial lytic activity. Our data suggest that it is the increased male mating demands in female-biased populations that tradesoff against immunity, and not the increased investment in sperm transfer per mating that characterizes male-biased populations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4pp
    JournalBiology Letters
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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