Changes in physiological stress and behaviour in semi-free-ranging red-capped mangabeys (Cercocebus torquatus) following antiparasitic treatment

Sagan Friant, Toni E. Ziegler, Tony L. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Parasites are ubiquitous in wildlife populations, but physiological and behavioural responses of hosts to infection are difficult to measure. We experimentally treated semi-free-ranging red-capped mangabeys (Cercocebus torquatus) in Nigeria with antiparasitic drugs and examined subsequent changes in glucocorticoid production and individual behaviour. Because both parasites and stress impact energy balance and health, we measured (i) behavioural time re-allocation via activity budgets, (ii) social relationships (e.g. social connectivity and dominance hierarchy stability) and (iii) body condition. We collected triplicate faecal samples (n = 441) from 49 individuals prior to and following treatment. Cortisol levels fluctuated in parallel with parasite abundance. Elevations in cortisol, but not parasitism, were related to reduced body condition. Behaviour also shifted according to infection status, with uninfected individuals spending more time foraging and less time resting and vigilant compared with when they were infected. Time spent feeding, travelling or socializing did not differ between pre- and post-treatment time periods. Group cohesion, but not dominance stability, changed following treatment, suggesting parasite-induced social avoidance. Together, these findings show a coordinated response to infection that promotes host tolerance through stress and energy conservation, reduces transmission risk and increases protection when infected hosts are vulnerable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20161201
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume283
Issue number1835
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 27 2016

Fingerprint

Cercocebus
Antiparasitic Agents
Physiological Stress
parasite
Parasites
parasites
Social Dominance
body condition
cortisol
Hydrocortisone
infection
Social Hierarchy
Infection
energy conservation
glucocorticoids
Energy balance
cohesion
physiological response
stress tolerance
energy balance

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Parasites are ubiquitous in wildlife populations, but physiological and behavioural responses of hosts to infection are difficult to measure. We experimentally treated semi-free-ranging red-capped mangabeys (Cercocebus torquatus) in Nigeria with antiparasitic drugs and examined subsequent changes in glucocorticoid production and individual behaviour. Because both parasites and stress impact energy balance and health, we measured (i) behavioural time re-allocation via activity budgets, (ii) social relationships (e.g. social connectivity and dominance hierarchy stability) and (iii) body condition. We collected triplicate faecal samples (n = 441) from 49 individuals prior to and following treatment. Cortisol levels fluctuated in parallel with parasite abundance. Elevations in cortisol, but not parasitism, were related to reduced body condition. Behaviour also shifted according to infection status, with uninfected individuals spending more time foraging and less time resting and vigilant compared with when they were infected. Time spent feeding, travelling or socializing did not differ between pre- and post-treatment time periods. Group cohesion, but not dominance stability, changed following treatment, suggesting parasite-induced social avoidance. Together, these findings show a coordinated response to infection that promotes host tolerance through stress and energy conservation, reduces transmission risk and increases protection when infected hosts are vulnerable.",
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