How do seasonality and host traits influence the distribution patterns of parasites on juveniles and adults of Columba livia ?

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2017
Authors:H. Leonardo C. Amaral, Bergmann, F. Borba, Santos, P. Roberto Si, Silveira, T., Krüger, R. Ferreira
Journal:Acta Tropica
Pagination:305 - 310
Date Published:Jan-12-2017
Keywords:birds, Infestation, parasite-host interaction, parasites, Plumage color

Parasites may influence host fitness and consequently exert a selective pressure on distinct phenotypes of the host population. This pressure can result in an evolutionary response, maintaining only individuals with certain traits in the population. The present study was aimed at identifying the morphological characteristics of juve- niles and adults of Columba livia that may influence the distribution patterns of lice, Pseudolynchia canariensis and Haemoproteus columbae and how the populations of these parasites vary throughout the seasons of the year. Between July 2012 and July 2014, 377 specimens of C. livia were captured. We observed a significant increase in the mean intensities of infestation by pigeon flies and lice, as well as in species richness of ectoparasites during the warmest seasons, suggesting a reproductive synchrony between ectoparasites and host species. Bill length, body mass, and body length did not affect the infestation levels of ectoparasites on adults and juveniles of C. livia with three distinct plumage colors. In juveniles, plumage color affected only the mean intensity of infestation by lice, with Spread individuals as the most infested. This indicates that melanin in feathers was not an effective barrier against ectoparasites.

Short Title:Acta Tropica
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