Apr 2, 2020

Sickness behaviour reduces network centrality in wild vampire bats

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Neil D WarnockJohnathan J Dalzell


Sickness behaviours, like lethargy, can slow the spread of pathogens across a social network. We conducted a field experiment to investigate how sickness behaviour reduces individual connectedness in a high-resolution dynamic social network. We captured 35 adult female vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) from a wild roost. To create "sick" bats, we injected a random half of the bats with the immune-challenging substance, lipopolysaccharide, and injected the control group with saline. Over the next three days, we used proximity sensors to continuously track their associations under natural conditions. The "sick" bats showed a clear decrease in social connectedness (degree, strength, and eigenvector centrality). Bats in the control group encountered fewer "sick" bats and also spent less time near them. These effects varied by time of day and declined over 48 hours. High-resolution proximity data allow researchers to define network connections based on how a pathogen spreads (e.g. the minimum contact time or distance for transmission). We therefore show how the estimate of the sickness effect changes as network ties are defined using varying distances and durations of association. Tracking the effects of sickness behaviour on high-re...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

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Crops, Agricultural
Pathogenic Organism
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Response to Parasitic Plant

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