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Combination of seven surveys of blood parasites in North American passerines reveals weak, highly significant association over species between incidence of chronic blood infections (five genera of protozoa and one nematode) and striking display (three characters: male "brightness," female "brightness," and male song). This result conforms to a model of(More)
We examined barriers to gene flow in a hybrid zone of two subspecies of the song sparrow (Melospiza melodia). We focused on how mating signals and mate choice changed along an environmental gradient and gathered data on the morphology, genetics, ecology, and behavior across the zone. Melospiza m. heermanni of the Pacific slope of California and M. m. fallax(More)
Arguments about the weaker sex notwithstanding , there is no contest about the identity of the sicker sex—it is males, almost every time. Everyone knows that old age homes have more widows than widowers, but the disparity extends far beyond the elderly. Fewer women than men died in the 1917–1918 influenza epidemic; the differential mortality was not related(More)
Developmental plasticity allows juvenile animals to assess environmental cues and adaptively shape behavioral and morphological traits to maximize fitness in their adult environment. Sexual signals are particularly conspicuous cues, making them likely candidates for mediating such responses. Plasticity in male reproductive traits is a common phenomenon, but(More)
Tightly coupled evolutionary associations between parasites and their hosts are well known. What is less well characterized is the behavioural specialization of parasites that exploit different hosts in different parts of the parasite's geographical range. Here we examine behavioural specialization among populations of a parasitoid fly, Ormia ochracea, that(More)
Sexual signals are often critical for mate attraction and reproduction, although their conspicuousness exposes them to parasites and predators. We document the near-disappearance of song, the sexual signal of crickets, and its replacement with a novel silent morph, in a population subject to strong natural selection by a deadly acoustically orienting(More)
One of the most common life history trade-offs in animals is the reduction in survivorship with increasing reproductive effort. Despite the prevalence of this pattern, its underlying physiological mechanisms are not well understood. Here we test the hypothesis that immune suppression mediates this phenotypic trade-off by manipulating reproductive effort and(More)