Because an individual's investment into the immune system may modify its dispersal rate, immune function may evolve rapidly in an invader. We collected cane toads (Rhinella marina) from sites spanning their 75-year invasion history in Australia, bred them, and raised their progeny in standard conditions. Evolved shifts in immune function should manifest as differences in immune responses among the progeny of parents collected in different locations. Parental location did not affect the offspring's cell-mediated immune response or stress response, but blood from the offspring of invasion-front toads had more neutrophils, and was more effective at phagocytosis and killing bacteria. These latter measures of immune function are negatively correlated with rate of dispersal in free-ranging toads. Our results suggest that the invasion of tropical Australia by cane toads has resulted in rapid genetically based compensatory shifts in the aspects of immune responses that are most compromised by the rigours of long-distance dispersal.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2015|
- common garden
- immune system
- invasive species