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Data from: Social status, immune response, and parasitism in males: a meta-analysis

Cite this dataset

Habig, Bobby; Archie, Elizabeth A. (2016). Data from: Social status, immune response, and parasitism in males: a meta-analysis [Dataset]. Dryad.


In male vertebrates, two conflicting paradigms—the energetic costs of high dominance rank and the chronic stress of low rank—have been proposed to explain patterns of immune function and parasitism. To date, neither paradigm has provided a complete explanation for status-related differences in male health. Here, we applied meta-analyses to test for correlations between male social status, immune responses, and parasitism. We used an ecomimmunological framework, which proposes that males should re-allocate investment in different immune components depending on the costs of dominance or subordination. Spanning 297 analyses, from 77 studies on several vertebrate taxa, we found that most immune responses were similar between subordinate and dominant males, and neither dominant nor subordinate males consistently invested in predictable immune components. However, subordinate males displayed significantly lower delayed-type hypersensitivity and higher levels of some inflammatory cytokines than dominant males, while dominant males exhibited relatively lower immunoglobulin responses than subordinate males. Despite few differences in immunity, dominant males exhibited consistently higher parasitism than subordinate males, including protozoan blood parasites, ectoparasites, and gastrointestinal helminths. We discuss our results in the context of the costs of dominance and subordination, and advocate future work that measures both parasitism and immune responses in wild systems.

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