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Reciprocal natural selection on host‐parasite phenotypes

Clayton, Dale H., Lee, Patricia L.M., Tompkins, Daniel M. and Brodie, Edmund D. III. 1999, Reciprocal natural selection on host‐parasite phenotypes, American naturalist, vol. 154, no. 3, pp. 261-270.

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Title Reciprocal natural selection on host‐parasite phenotypes
Author(s) Clayton, Dale H.
Lee, Patricia L.M.
Tompkins, Daniel M.
Brodie, Edmund D. III.
Journal name American naturalist
Volume number 154
Issue number 3
Start page 261
End page 270
Total pages 10
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Place of publication Chicago, Ill.
Publication date 1999-09
ISSN 0003-0147
1537-5323
Keyword(s) coevolution
birds
ectoparasites
lice
virulence
fitness
Summary Coevolution is evolution in one species in response to selection imposed by a second species, followed by evolution in the second species in response to reciprocal selection imposed by the first species. Although reciprocal selection is a prerequisite of coevolution, it has seldom been documented in natural populations. We examined the feasibility of reciprocal selection in a simple host‐parasite system consisting of feral pigeons (Columba livia) and their Ischnoceran feather lice (Phthiraptera: Insecta). We tested for a selective effect of parasites on hosts with experimentally altered defenses and for a selective effect of host defense on a component of parasite escape. Previous work indicates that pigeons control lice through efficient preening, while lice escape from preening using complex avoidance behavior. Our results show that feral pigeons with impaired preening, owing to slight bill deformities, have higher louse loads than pigeons with normal bills. We use a controlled experiment to show that high louse loads reduce the survival of pigeons, suggesting that lice select for efficient preening and against bill deformities. In a reciprocal experiment, we demonstrate that preening with a normal bill selects for small body size in lice, which may facilitate their escape from preening. The results of this study verify a crucial element of coevolutionary theory by identifying likely targets of reciprocal phenotypic selection between host and parasite.
Language eng
Field of Research 060307 Host-Parasite Interactions
060399 Evolutionary Biology not elsewhere classified
060208 Terrestrial Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©1999, University of Chicago Press
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30056229

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.