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Prevalence and diversity of Plasmodium and Haemoproteus parasites in the globally-threatened Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola.

Author:
  • Julio Neto
  • Antón Pérez-Rodríguez
  • Martin Haase
  • Martin Flade
  • Staffan Bensch
Publishing year: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 1183-1189
Publication/Series: Parasitology
Volume: 142
Issue: 9
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Abstract english

The diversity and prevalence of malaria parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus were determined in the globally-threatened Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola. Birds were sampled during migration in Portugal and at the wintering quarters in Senegal and parasites were detected using molecular methods. Only three generalist parasite lineages (Plasmodium) were found. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of parasites between sexes in Europe, but adults had higher prevalence than first-year birds, and birds in Europe had higher prevalence than those captured in Africa. When comparing with other Acrocephalus species and taking sample size into account, Aquatic Warblers had the lowest prevalence and, together with another threatened species, the Seychelles Warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis, the lowest diversity of malaria parasites. We hypothesize that the low diversity of parasites and absence of specialist lineages of Aquatic Warblers are caused by its small population size and fragmented distribution. Furthermore, Aquatic Warblers' extreme habitat specialization may decrease their exposure to malaria parasites, but other explanations such as high mortality (which would constraint the sampling of infected birds) or, in contrast, very efficient immunological system in clearing the infections cannot be ruled out. This study contributes to explain variation in prevalence and diversity of malaria parasites among hosts.

Keywords

  • Ecology

Other

Published
  • Malaria in birds
  • CAnMove
  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 1469-8161
Júlio Neto
E-mail: julio [dot] neto [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

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