Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/65059
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Type: Journal article
Title: Maternally invested carotenoids compensate costly ectoparasitism in the hihi
Author: Ewen, J.
Thorogood, R.
Brekke, P.
Cassey, P.
Karadas, F.
Armstrong, D.
Citation: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2009; 106(31):12798-12802
Publisher: Natl Acad Sciences
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 0027-8424
1091-6490
Statement of
Responsibility: 
John G. Ewen, Rose Thorogood, Patricia Brekke, Phillip Cassey, Filiz Karadas and Doug P. Armstrong
Abstract: Dietary ingested carotenoid biomolecules have been linked to both improved health and immunity in nestling birds. Here, we test whether maternally invested egg carotenoids can offset the cost of parasitism in developing nestling hihi (Notiomystis cincta) from the bloodsucking mite (Ornithonyssus bursa). Our results reveal clear negative effects of parasitism on nestlings, and that maternally derived carotenoids compensate this cost, resulting in growth parameters and ultimate mass achieved being similar to nonparasitized young. Our results offer an unique example of a direct positive relationship between enhanced maternal investment of carotenoids and an ability to cope with a specific and costly parasite in young birds. As O. bursa infestations reduce population viability in hihi, our findings also highlight the importance of key nutritional resources for endangered bird populations to better cope with common parasite infestations.
Keywords: life history; maternal effects; parasites; stitchbird
Rights: © Authors
RMID: 0020108142
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0902575106
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications

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