Data from: Enhanced male coloration after immune challenge increases reproductive potential
Cite this dataset
Velando, Alberto; Beamonte-Barrientos, Rene; Torres, Roxana (2014). Data from: Enhanced male coloration after immune challenge increases reproductive potential [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.p534s
In many animal species, females select a mate on the basis of the expression of secondary sexual traits. A prevalent theory suggests that male ornaments are reliable indicators of immunocompetence, because the cost of immune function prevents cheating. However, sexual signalling is a component of males’ reproductive effort, and an immune challenge may also alter the organism’s perceived future prospects and hence their signalling effort. In this study, to investigate the consequences of mounting an immune response on signalling effort, blue-footed booby males (Sula nebouxii) during courtship were inoculated with diphtheria–tetanus vaccine. We found that, after this immune challenge, on average males increased their signalling effort but lost more body mass compared to control males. Importantly, vaccination affected the partner’s reproductive decisions: compared to control females, females paired with vaccinated males laid eggs earlier, and increased clutch volume in early pairs. Overall, our results suggest that blue-footed booby males invest more in sexual signals when future breeding opportunities are at risk, eliciting a greater reproductive investment by their partners. Increased signaling effort by infected individuals may contrast the idea of sexual ornaments as signals of infection status.