Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2016 Nov;58:554-562. doi: 10.1016/j.fsi.2016.09.065. Epub 2016 Oct 1.

Parental care improves immunity in the seahorse (Hippocampus erectus).

Author information

1
East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Key Laboratory of East China Sea & Oceanic Fishery Resources Exploitation and Utilization, Ministry of Agriculture, Shanghai 200090, PR China.
2
East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Key Laboratory of East China Sea & Oceanic Fishery Resources Exploitation and Utilization, Ministry of Agriculture, Shanghai 200090, PR China. Electronic address: zhangdong@eastfishery.ac.cn.

Abstract

In the present study, the sexual dimorphism in immune response in the seahorse Hippocampus erectus in which males compete for mates and invest heavily in parental care was assessed. Variability in immunocompetence in virginal seahorses with differing levels of sexual maturity (i.e., immaturity, early maturity and maturity) and with different mating statuses (i.e., virginal, experienced mating failure and experienced mating success) were analyzed by evaluating immune parameters in the plasma. Additionally, ultrastructural characteristics of the inner epithelium of the brood pouch were compared between males that had experienced mating failure and those that had succeeded. Generally, immunity in sexually mature virgin males was greater than in females, and mating competition significantly reduced males' immunity. However, parental care gave males stronger immune and metabolic abilities and resulted in their immunity significantly rebounding after a successful mating. The present study quantitatively clarifies, for the first time, how parental care and mating competition jointly affect immunity. Moreover, previous findings that females display more efficient immune defenses than males in conventional species (i.e., males are as competitor and females as care giver) and that males' immunity is higher than females' in the pipefish (i.e., females are as competitor and males as care giver) in combination with the present results indicate that parental care is a key factor for sexual dimorphism in immunity. The care-giving sex has strong immunity regardless of the sex in charge of mating competition or not.

KEYWORDS:

Immune defenses; Mating competition; Parental care; Seahorse Hippocampus erectus; Sexual dimorphism

PMID:
27702678
DOI:
10.1016/j.fsi.2016.09.065
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center