The Influence of Host Body Size and Food Guild on Prevalence and Mean Intensity of Chewing Lice (Phthiraptera) on Birds in Southern China

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2019
Authors:X. Chu, Dik, B., Gustafsson, D. R., Che, X., Zhang, Q., Zou, F.
Journal:Journal of Parasitology
Pagination:334 - 344
Date Published: April 2019
Keywords:China, intensity, new host records, New records, Prevalence

Chewing lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) are abundant ectoparasites of birds and mammals. They are adapted to life in the plumage or pelage of their hosts and virtually never leave the host during their life cycle. Most species are highly host specific. This study was carried out to determine species richness, abundance, and prevalence of chewing lice of wild forest birds in the southern region of China. Between July 2012 and June 2016, 2,210 birds (belonging to 8 orders, 45 families, and 215 species) were captured by mist nets and examined for chewing lice. In total, 622 birds of 117 species were parasitized by lice belonging to 89 species in 25 genera from 2 suborders (Amblycera and Ischnocera). Of these, 28 louse species represent new host–louse records for China and 10 worldwide. Chewing louse prevalence varied significantly among host species. There was no evidence of a correlation between climate zones and louse prevalence, but host guild affected prevalence significantly, with insectivorous birds having the lowest prevalence. Louse prevalence was positively correlated with host body mass and bill length, but mean intensity was only correlated with host body mass. These findings contribute further knowledge of avian chewing lice.

Short Title:Journal of Parasitology
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