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Affiliative social relationships and coccidian oocyst excretion in a cooperatively breeding bird species

Wascher, CAF; Canestrari, D; Baglione, V

ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR
2019
VL / 158 - BP / 121 - EP / 130
abstract
In group-living animals, behavioural interactions with conspecifics strongly modulate an individual's physiological stress response. Stable social relationships may reduce an individual's stress response, which in turn can affect the immune system and health. Ultimately, positive health effects of stable social bonds may contribute to maintaining group living. We investigated whether, in cooperatively breeding carrion crows, Corvus corone, the quality of social relationships correlates with the excretion of coccidian oocysts and nematode eggs. We repeatably collected behavioural data on dyadic social interactions and individual droppings to quantify parasite eggs and oocysts from 36 individuals in a captive population of carrion crows in northern Spain. Individuals with strong social bonds, living with more relatives and in larger groups, excreted a significantly smaller proportion of droppings containing coccidian oocysts. The probability of excreting droppings containing nematode eggs was not affected by social factors. The relationship between social interactions and coccidian oocyst excretion is consistent with the idea that high-quality social relationships can positively affect an individual's health, setting the stage for the evolution of stable social living. (C) 2019 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
193rd Global

AccesS level

Green Accepted

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PROYECTO FINANCIADO POR PLAN NACIONAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN AGENCIA ESTATAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN, MINISTERIO DE CIENCIA E INNOVACIÓN. PID2019-109127RB-I00