Maternally invested carotenoids compensate costly ectoparasitism in the hihi


Ewen J. G., Thorogood R., Brekke P., Cassey P., Karadaş F., Armstrong D. P.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, vol.106, no.31, pp.12798-12802, 2009 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 106 Issue: 31
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1073/pnas.0902575106
  • Journal Name: PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.12798-12802
  • Keywords: life history, maternal effects, parasites, stitchbird, BARN SWALLOW, HIRUNDO-RUSTICA, MOUTH COLOR, BROOD SIZE, PASSERINE, MORTALITY, SURVIVAL, IMMUNITY, GROWTH, GREAT
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Dietary ingested carotenoid biomolecules have been linked to both improved health and immunity in nestling birds. Here, we test whether maternally invested egg carotenoids can offset the cost of parasitism in developing nestling hihi (Notiomystis cincta) from the bloodsucking mite (Ornithonyssus bursa). Our results reveal clear negative effects of parasitism on nestlings, and that maternally derived carotenoids compensate this cost, resulting in growth parameters and ultimate mass achieved being similar to nonparasitized young. Our results offer an unique example of a direct positive relationship between enhanced maternal investment of carotenoids and an ability to cope with a specific and costly parasite in young birds. As O. bursa infestations reduce population viability in hihi, our findings also highlight the importance of key nutritional resources for endangered bird populations to better cope with common parasite infestations.