Seasonal changes in the relationship between ornamentation and immune response in red jungle fowl

M. Zuk, T. S. Johnsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Scopus citations

Abstract

Resistance to disease is frequently suggested to be important in mate choice, but information about how immune status can be conveyed is lacking. During the breeding season, male red jungle fowl with large combs, a sexually selected trait, have lower levels of lymphocytes, but greater cell-mediated immunity, indicated by a cutaneous hypersensitivity response. Before the breeding season, however, both cell-mediated immunity and proportion of lymphocytes are positively correlated with comb length. Cell-mediated immunity is particularly important to jungle fowl during the breeding season, because the likelihood of injury during sexual competition is high and cell-mediated immunity is essential for healing wounds and resisting infection. This seasonal change in one aspect of immunity but not another suggests that the birds adaptively maintain certain immune system abilities, and that it can be misleading to use a single aspect of immune response in evaluating immunocompetence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1631-1635
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume265
Issue number1406
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 7 1998

Keywords

  • Immunocompetence
  • Jungle fowl
  • Ornaments
  • Seasonality
  • Sexual selection

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