Chapter

Reproductive immunity

Michael T. Siva-Jothy

in Insect Infection and Immunity

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780199551354
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720505 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551354.003.0015
Reproductive immunity

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One of the most predictable episodes of a female insect's life is the timing of mate-encounter and mating. This chapter proposes that females are often subjected to predictable wounding during mating and that this wounding provides opportunity for environmental microbes to enter the female's haemocoel, thereby presenting immunological costs. It argues that this combination of factors is likely to lead to reproduction being a period of heightened immunological activity that has resulted in specific immune defence mechanisms and management systems that function to minimize costs while maximizing immunological efficacy. If true, these phenomena may provide valuable insights into how organisms with mechanistically simple immune systems protect themselves against a complex pathogenic world, and may also provide logistic opportunities to better study immunity in the wild.

Keywords: insect immunity; immune response; mating; copulatory wounding

Chapter.  5903 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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