Skip to main content
Article
The effects of carotenoid and food availability on resistance to a naturally occurring parasite (Gyrodactylus turnbulli) in guppies (Poecilia reticulata)
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
  • Gita R. Kolluru, University of California - Los Angeles
  • Gregory F. Grether, University of California - Los Angeles
  • Sandra H. South, University of California - Los Angeles
  • Eric Dunlop, University of California - Los Angeles
  • Andrea Cardinali, University of California - Los Angeles
  • Linda Liu, University of California - Los Angeles
  • Andreah Carapiet, University of California - Los Angeles
Publication Date
10-1-2006
Abstract

Dietary carotenoids have been shown to confer immunological benefits to some species of animals in which males also use these pigments to attract mates. Thus, the potential exists for an allocation trade-off between the sexual and immunological functions of carotenoids. Food availability may also influence immune system function. The present study examined the effects of carotenoid and food availability on the resistance of male guppies (Poecilia reticulata Peters) from four wild populations to the parasite Gyrodactylus turnbulli Harris. Intermediate levels of carotenoid ingestion resulted in the lowest parasite loads, which suggests that carotenoids strengthen parasite resistance at low levels but either benefit parasites or suppress host immunity at high levels. Males raised on the high-food level initially had fewer parasites, suggesting heightened innate immunity relative to males raised on the low-food level. Over the course of the experiment, however, the high-food males supported higher parasite population growth rates than the low-food males. The results obtained emphasize the importance of evaluating the effects of diet on multiple aspects of immune system function, and caution against assuming that positive effects of carotenoids on immunity in one context will automatically translate to other contexts.

Disciplines
Citation Information
Gita R. Kolluru, Gregory F. Grether, Sandra H. South, Eric Dunlop, et al.. "The effects of carotenoid and food availability on resistance to a naturally occurring parasite (Gyrodactylus turnbulli) in guppies (Poecilia reticulata)" Biological Journal of the Linnean Society Vol. 89 Iss. 2 (2006) p. 301 - 309
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gkolluru/2/