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Data from: Behavioural fever reduces ranaviral infection in toads

Cite this dataset

Sauer, Erin L.; Trejo, Nadia; Hoverman, Jason T.; Rohr, Jason R. (2019). Data from: Behavioural fever reduces ranaviral infection in toads [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. Host behaviour is known to influence disease dynamics. Additionally, hosts often change their behaviours in response to pathogen detection to resist and avoid disease. The capacity of wildlife populations to respond to pathogens using behavioural plasticity is critical for reducing the impacts of disease outbreaks. However, there is limited information regarding the ability of ectothermic vertebrates to resist diseases via behavioural plasticity. 2. Here, we experimentally examine the effect of host behaviour on ranaviral infections, which affect at least 175 species of ectothermic vertebrates. We placed metamorphic (temporal block 1) or adult (block 2) Southern toads (Anaxyrus terrestris) in thermal gradients, tested their temperature preferences before and after oral inoculation by measuring individual‐level body temperature over time, and measured ranaviral loads of viral‐exposed individuals. 3. We found significant individual‐level variation in temperature preference and evidence for behavioural fever in both metamorph and adult A. terrestris during the first two days after exposure. Additionally, we found that individual‐level change in temperature preference was negatively correlated with ranaviral load and a better predictor of load than average temperature preference or maximum temperature reached by an individual. In other words, an increase in baseline temperature preference was more important than simply reaching an absolute temperature. 4. These results suggest that behavioural fever is an effective mechanism for resisting ranaviral infections.

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National Science Foundation, Award: EF-1241889, DEB-1518681