Ecological Entomology

Cover image for Vol. 39 Issue 4

Edited By: Jane K. Hill, Francis Gilbert and Rebeca B. Rosengaus

Impact Factor: 1.967

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 12/90 (Entomology)

Online ISSN: 1365-2311

Associated Title(s): Agricultural and Forest Entomology, Insect Conservation and Diversity, Medical and Veterinary Entomology, Insect Conservation and Diversity, Physiological Entomology, Systematic Entomology

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The Editor's Choice

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Editor's Choice

Volume 39 Issue 3

Self-medication in insects: current evidence and future perspectives
Jessica Abbott

Sooner or later, we all get sick. This certainty is what makes the topic of self-medication in animals so appealing to humans. The fact that even insects, with their (assumed) negligible brain power can respond prophylactically and/or therapeutically to prevent, ameliorate and/or cure the negative effects posed by pathogenic protozoa, viruses, fungi, bacteria and parasites is a growing area in the field of ecological immunology. In her review, Abbot systematically tackles five different examples of self-medication across the Insecta, from solitary to eusocial species. She provides clear criteria needed to invoke self-medication. She also details the dynamics and possible trade-offs between innate immune responses and self-medication, while reminding us that in some instances self-medication does not only benefit the “self” but can also protect its progeny and other kin. Her comparative approach identifies at least one common feature in those insect species exhibiting self-medication: the compounds used as “medicines” are both naturally consumed as part of a normal diet or are present and collected in the environment. This observation then provides insight into the evolutionary origins of self-medication. This timely review is relevant not only to researchers focusing on ecological immunology, phenotypic plasticity, trans-generational immunity, trade-offs, parental investment and the evolution of disease resistance, but also to everyone who gets sick.

Images: Top: Jessica Abbott Bottom:Drosophila melanogaster female (taken by Qinyang Li)

Ecological Entomology

Ecological Entomology
Editors' choices from previous issues

Best Paper' Award

Best Paper Award

Ecological Entomology awards a “best paper” biennially. The following paper is the most recent winner:

Chinese mantids gut toxic monarch caterpillars: avoidance of prey defence?
Jamie L. Rafter, Anurag A. Agrawal, Evan L. Preisser

Ecological Entomology 2013, 38, 76-82

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