Tail autotomy incurs energetic costs, and thus, a trade-off in resource allocation may lead to compromised immunity in lizards. We tested the hypothesis that tailless lizards will favor constitutive innate immunity responses over an energetically costly inflammatory response. The influence of fasting and colorful ornamentation was also investigated. We experimentally induced tail autotomy in the lizard Eutropis multifasciata and found that inflammation was suppressed by tail loss, but not further affected by fasting; the suppressive effect of colorful ornamentation was manifested only in males, but not in females. Constitutive innate immunity was not affected by any of these factors. As expected, only costly inflammation was compromised, and a less expensive constitutive innate immunity might be favored as a competent first-line defense during energetically demanding periods. After considering conventional trade-offs among tail regeneration and reproduction, further extending these studies to incorporate disease risk and how this influences escape responses to predators and future reproduction would make worthwhile studies.
- Colorful ornamentation
- Disease risks
- Tail autotomy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics