寄生虫感染可改变动物性格

上一篇 / 下一篇  2011-08-27 00:01:38

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寄生虫感染能改变你的性格吗?可以,如果你是一只小野鸭。

这些鸟类通常都会躲避不常见的东西,并且喜欢绿色和蓝色的物体。但是当研究人员向4周、9周和14周的小绿头鸭(Anas platyrhynchos)注射绵羊的红血球以模拟一种寄生虫感染后,这些鸟类便开始探索环境中的新事物,并靠近那些橙色的小玩具——它们通常都会远离这种颜色,因为它似乎与有毒的食物有关。

在6月7日的英国《皇家学会学报B》网络版上,研究人员推测这些所谓的性格变化将有助于成年个体探索更大的区域,并找到更多的食物。而这反过来又可以弥补它们因与传染病作斗争而损失的能量。

推荐原文出处:

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences    DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.0842

Ontogenetic immune challenges shape adult personality in mallard ducks

Butler, Michael W.; Toomey, Matthew B.; McGraw, Kevin J.; Rowe, Melissah

Consistent individual differences in behaviour are widespread in animals, but the proximate mechanisms driving these differencesremain largely unresolved. Parasitism and immune challenges are hypothesized to shape the expression of animal personalitytraits, but few studies have examined the influence of neonatal immune status on the development of adult personality. Weexamined how non-pathogenic immune challenges, administered at different stages of development, affected two common measuresof personality, activity and exploratory behaviour, as well as colour-dependent novel object exploration in adult male mallardducks (Anas platyrhynchos). We found that individuals that were immune-challenged during the middle (immediately following the completion of somaticgrowth) and late (during the acquisition of nuptial plumage) stages of development were more active in novel environmentsas adults relative to developmentally unchallenged birds or those challenged at an earlier developmental time point. Additionally,individuals challenged during the middle stage of development preferred orange and avoided red objects more than those thatwere not immune-challenged during development. Our results demonstrate that, in accordance with our predictions, early-lifeimmune system perturbations alter the expression of personality traits later in life, emphasizing the role that developmentalplasticity plays in shaping adult personality, and lending support to recent theoretical models that suggest that parasitepressure may play an important role in animal personality development.


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