Recent scientific breakthroughs have significantly expanded our understanding of arthropod vector immunity. Insights in the laboratory have demonstrated how the immune system provides resistance to infection, and in what manner innate defenses protect against a microbial assault. Less understood, however, is the effect of biotic and abiotic factors on microbial-vector interactions and the impact of the immune system on arthropod populations in nature. Furthermore, the influence of genetic plasticity on the immune response against vector-borne pathogens remains mostly elusive. Herein, we discuss evolutionary forces that shape arthropod vector immunity. We focus on resistance, pathogenicity and tolerance to infection. We posit that novel scientific paradigms should emerge when molecular immunologists and evolutionary ecologists work together.
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