Journal article

Invader immunology: invasion history alters immune system function in cane toads (Rhinella marina) in tropical Australia

Gregory P Brown, Benjamin L Phillips, Sylvain Dubey, Richard Shine



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 latte..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Mary Mendonca for her instructive visit to the University of Sydney Tropical Ecology Research Facility to demonstrate immunoassays under field conditions. We thank Nilu Somaweera and Michelle Franklin for help in rearing toads, and Cheryl Day for running corticosterone EIA kits. The Northern Territory Land Corporation provided facilities. The University of Sydney Animal Ethics Committee gave approvals for the work, and funding was provided by the Australian Research Council.