Data from: Navigating infection risk during oviposition and cannibalistic foraging in a holometabolous insect
Siva-Jothy, Jonathon A.; Montieth, Katy M.; Vale, Pedro F. (2018), Data from: Navigating infection risk during oviposition and cannibalistic foraging in a holometabolous insect, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fm3j82j
Deciding where to eat and raise offspring carries important fitness consequences for all animals, especially if foraging, feeding and reproduction increase pathogen exposure. In insects with complete metamorphosis, foraging mainly occurs during the larval stage, while oviposition decisions are made by adult females. Selection for infection avoidance behaviours may therefore be developmentally uncoupled. Using a combination of experimental infections and behavioral choice assays, we tested if Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies avoid infectious environments at distinct developmental stages. When given conspecific fly carcasses as a food source, larvae did not discriminate between carcasses that were clean or infected with the pathogenic Drosophila C Virus (DCV), even though cannibalism was a viable route of DCV transmission. When laying eggs, DCV-infected females did not discriminate between infectious and non-infectious carcasses. Healthy mothers however, laid more eggs near a clean rather than an infectious carcass. Avoidance during oviposition changed over time: after an initial oviposition period, healthy mothers stopped avoiding infectious carcasses. We attribute this to a trade-off between infection risk and reproduction. Laying eggs near potentially infectious carcasses was always preferred to sites containing only fly food. Our findings suggest infection avoidance contributes to how mothers provision their offspring and underline the need to consider infection avoidance behaviors at multiple life-stages.