IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Macroparasitism influences reproductive success in red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

Listed author(s):
  • Krista Gooderham
  • Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde
Registered author(s):

    Life-history theory predicts that all organisms have finite energy reserves. In order to optimize fitness, individuals must make trade-offs in allocating energy among survival, growth, and reproduction. Parasites have the ability to negatively impact host fitness and shift the balance of energy trade-offs. The aim of our study was to determine the relationships among parasite load and reproductive success in a free-living population of North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in Algonquin Park, Ontario. We hypothesized that heavily parasitized individuals must allocate more energy toward immune function. As energy storage is finite, this will inevitably reduce the resources available for reproduction. Here, we show that parasite richness can compromise fitness through decreasing reproductive success. However, ectoparasite intensity increased with increasing reproductive success in males but not females, suggesting a possible trade-offs between secondary sexual characteristics in males and immunosuppressive qualities of testosterone. Our study provides unique evidence of the costs parasites exact on their hosts. It is among the relatively few studies conducted within an ecological context incorporating host fitness in relation to multiple parasite infections. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 6 ()
    Pages: 1195-1200

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:6:p:1195-1200
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK

    Fax: 01865 267 985
    Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:6:p:1195-1200. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.