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Immune function and parasite resistance in male and polymorphic female Coenagrion puella

Joop, G., Mitschke, A., Rolff, J. and Siva-Jothy, M.T. (2006) Immune function and parasite resistance in male and polymorphic female Coenagrion puella. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 6 (Art. N). ISSN 1471-2148


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Colour polymorphisms are widespread and one of the prime examples is the colour polymorphism in female coenagrionid damselflies: one female morph resembles the male colour (andromorph) while one, or more, female morphs are described as typically female (gynomorph). However, the selective pressures leading to the evolution and maintenance of this polymorphism are not clear. Here, based on the hypothesis that coloration and especially black patterning can be related to resistance against pathogens, we investigated the differences in immune function and parasite resistance between the different female morphs and males.


Our studies of immune function revealed no differences in immune function between the female morphs but between the sexes in adult damselflies. In an experimental infection females infected shortly after emergence showed a higher resistance against a fungal pathogen than males, however female morphs did not differ in resistance. In a field sample of adult damselflies we did not find differences in infection rates with watermites and gregarines.


With respect to resistance and immune function 'andromorph' blue females of Coenagrion puella do not resemble the males. Therefore the colour polymorphism in coenagrionid damselflies is unlikely to be maintained by differences in immunity.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2006Joop et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > School of Biological Sciences (Sheffield) > Department of Animal and Plant Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2007 14:05
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 11:42
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-6-19
Status: Published
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1186/1471-2148-6-19
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2601

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