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Data from: Tadpole body size and behavior alter the social acquisition of a defensive bacterial symbiont

Citation

Keiser, Carl N.; Wantman, Trina; Rebollar, Eria A.; Harris, Reid N. (2019), Data from: Tadpole body size and behavior alter the social acquisition of a defensive bacterial symbiont, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.mn8v722

Abstract

Individual differences in host phenotypes can generate heterogeneity in the acquisition and transmission of microbes. Although this has become a prominent factor of disease epidemiology, host phenotypic variation might similarly underlie the transmission of microbial symbionts that defend against pathogen infection. Using green frog (Lithobates clamitans) tadpoles, we test whether body size and behavior influence the social acquisition of a skin bacterium, Janthinobacterium lividum, which in some hosts can confer protection against infection by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the causative agent of the amphibian skin disease chytridiomycosis. We measured body size and boldness (time spent in an open field) of green frog tadpoles and haphazardly constructed groups of six individuals. In some groups we exposed one individual in each group to J. lividum and, in other groups, we inoculated a patch of aquarium pebbles to J. lividum. After 24hr, we swabbed each individual to estimate the presence of J. lividum on their skin. On average, tadpoles acquired nearly four times more bacteria when housed with an exposed individual compared to those housed with a patch of inoculated substrate. When tadpoles were housed with an exposed group-mate, larger and “bolder” individuals acquired more bacteria. These data suggest that phenotypically-biased acquisition of defensive symbionts might generate biased patterns of mortality from the pathogens against which they protect.

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