Article: article from journal or magazin.
Maternal modulation of natal dispersal in a passerine bird: an adaptive strategy to cope with parasitism?
Publication types: Journal Article ; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tPublication Status: ppublish
The decision of how far to disperse from the natal territory has profound and long-lasting consequences for young animals, yet the optimal dispersal behavior often depends on environmental factors that are difficult or impossible to assess by inexperienced juveniles. Natural selection thus favors mechanisms that allow the adaptive and flexible adjustment of the offspring's dispersal behavior by their parents via either paternal or maternal effects. Here we show that different dispersal strategies maximize the reproductive success of young great tits (Parus major) originating from a parasite-infested or a parasite-free nest and demonstrate that differential transfer of maternal yolk androgens in response to parasitism can result in a modification of the offspring's dispersal behavior that appears adaptive. It demonstrates that prenatal maternal effects are an important yet so far neglected determinant of natal dispersal and highlights the potential importance of maternal effects in mediating coevolutionary processes in host-parasite systems.
Adaptation, Physiological/physiology, Animals, Egg Yolk/chemistry, Exploratory Behavior/physiology, Female, Male, Passeriformes/parasitology, Passeriformes/physiology, Siphonaptera/physiology, Testosterone/physiology
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