Risk-Based Plasticity of Self-Medication Behavior in Drosophila melanogaster Open Access

Shoemaker, Ivan R (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/cr56n156k?locale=en
Published

Abstract

Many insect hosts are capable of altering their behavior to reduce the probability, severity, or cost of infection by parasites. However, plasticity of behavior defense in response to varying risk of infection or fitness loss has rarely been addressed, and as a result, few cases have been reported. In the Drosophila melanogaster system, females provide trans-generational medication to their offspring when exposed to parasitoid wasps, and wasp-infected larvae self-medicate with ethanol. Yet, it is unclear from either study whether infected larvae or ovipositing adults seek specific ethanol concentrations or whether such a preference might vary in response to important risk factors, such as infection intensity, or as a result of interaction with different wasp species. By comparing the movement and survival of parasitized and uninfected D. melanogaster larvae in the presence and absence of ethanol, we find that D. melanogaster larvae do prefer particular ethanol concentrations that optimize their fitness, and that the magnitude of host self- medication response is plastic in response to infection intensity, host resistance, and ethanol effectiveness.

Table of Contents

ABSTRACT ... iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS ... v
LIST OF TABLES ... vii
LIST OF FIGURES ... viii
INTRODUCTION ... 1
MATERIALS AND METHODS ...5
Larval rearing and wasp exposure ...5
Quantitative self-medication response of larvae to L. heterotoma infection ...6
Adaptive value of self-medication response to L. heterotoma infection...7
Infection intensity and self-medication response to L. heterotoma infection...9
Specificity of ethanol-based self-medication behavior against parasitoid wasps...9
Statistical analysis...11
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION...13
Quantitative self-medication response of larvae to L. heterotoma infection...13
Adaptive value of self-medication response to L. heterotoma infection...14
Infection intensity and self-medication response to L. heterotoma infection...15
Specificity of ethanol-based self-medication behavior against parasitoid wasps...16
CONCLUSION...17
BIBLIOGRAPHY...18

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