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Asian elephants with longer tusks have lower parasite loads

Watve, MG and Sukumar, R (1997) Asian elephants with longer tusks have lower parasite loads. In: Current Science, 72 (11). pp. 885-889.

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Official URL: http://www.ias.ac.in/j_archive/currsci/72/11/885-8...

Abstract

The Hamilton and Zuk hypothesis(1) that the intensity of male ornamentation allows females to assess a male's ability to resist parasites has been much debated recently(2-12). Much of the empirical work to test this hypothesis has been with insect(2), fish(3,4), reptilian(5) or avian(6-9) hosts. In a southern Indian population, we show that the length of tusks of male Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), corrected for differences due to age, is significantly negatively correlated with intestinal parasite loads. The less aggregated distribution of parasites in this elephant population, as compared to other mammalian species, indicates that ivory poaching may have already selectively removed a significant proportion of parasite-resistant individuals, Ivory poaching which targets larger-tusked elephants may thus affect the health status of the population.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Current Science Association.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2009 05:53
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 05:01
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/18410

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