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-   -   Self medication in species to attract mate (http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/biodiversity/12663-self-medication-species-attract-mate.html)

Gloria 10-31-2014 02:10 PM

Self medication in species to attract mate
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Ok, I realize this is pushing the biodiversity theme. Though these attributes are what biodiversity is all about. Survival of species and communities. Right???

Full article...
PLOS ONE: Males of a Strongly Polygynous Species Consume More Poisonous Food than Females


In polygynous birds, where competition among males for access to females is particularly strong, parasite load of males is assessed by females before mating and hence may affect male breeding success [1][6]. Self-medication could be one of the mechanisms males use to appear as healthy and vigorous as possible, and thus more attractive to females, but this possible function has not been described.

In this context, we examine here the consumption of poisonous insects by great bustards (Otis tarda) during the mating season. The great bustard is a polygynous bird with one of the most strongly skewed male mating success values among birds [13]. Males gather each year at traditional arenas (leks) where they perform elaborate sexual exhibitions directed towards females in order to express their status and condition [14]. Great bustards are among the few birds that feed on blister beetles (Berberomeloe majalis, Physomeloe corallifer; Fig. 1) [15],[16]. These insects are avoided by most animals because they contain cantharidin, a bitter-tasting and highly toxic defensive chemical with high immunogenicity [17] that acts in blister beetles as fungicide and nematocide [18]. Only a few species, such as the spur-winged goose Plectropterus gambensis and the northern leopard frogs Rana pipiens consume blister beetles, with a likely side effect of becoming toxic to predators [19],[20]. Cantharidin is also a well-known aphrodisiac compound that was obtained in the past from a beetle known as Spanish fly [21]. In humans, it causes priapism in men and pelvic congestion in women [22],[23]. Cantharidin-tolerant foragers would benefit from its anti-microbial and anthelminthic properties [24], and thus could enhance their health and their attractiveness to potential mates during the mate selection process.

back40bean 11-04-2014 11:10 PM

Fascinating. So it seems that they not only appear more healthy and vigorous but that they are so, due to the oral medication. Thanks

kchd 11-15-2014 11:25 AM

Yea, this is fascinating. I love reading about findings such as these.

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