Chewing lice of passerine birds in reed beds in Slovakia, with a special focus on Panurus biarmicus

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2022
Authors:O. Sychra, Oslejskova, L., Skoupá, Ž., Najer, T., Literák, I., Papoušek, I., Trnka, A., Čapek, M.
Journal:Medical and Veterinary Entomology
Pagination:8 pp
Date Published:Dec-15-2022
Type of Article:Online
ISSN:0269-283X, 1365-2915
Keywords:Acrocephalus melanopogon, ectoparasites, Migration, Sexual dimorphism

A total of 1185 passerine birds representing five species were examined for chewing lice in reed beds in southwestern Slovakia in spring (April) 2008, 2009 and 2016. Additional collecting focused only on chewing lice from Panurus biarmicus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Passeriformes: Panuridae) was carried out in spring (April), summer (July) and autumn (October) 2019. A total of 283 (24%) birds were parasitized by 10 species of chewing lice of four genera: Penenirmus, Menacanthus, Philopterus, and Brueelia. Most birds showed only very light (1–10 lice/host; 74%) to light infestations (11–20 lice/host; 16%). The authors found significantly higher prevalences and mean abundances of chewing lice on residents/short-distance migrants, that is, P. biarmicus, Acrocephalus melanopogon (Temminck, 1823) (Passeriformes: Acrocephalidae), than on long-distance migratory birds, that is, Acrocephalus scirpaceus (Hermann, 1804), Acrocephalus schoenobaenus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Passeriformes: Acrocephalidae), Locustella luscinioides (Savi, 1824) (Passeriformes: Locustellidae). No significant difference was found in the total mean intensity of chewing lice between these two groups of birds. Ischnoceran lice were more prevalent and abundant than amblyceran lice on residents and short-distance migrants, whereas the opposite was found on bird species that migrate long distances. A total of 146 (58%, n = 251) P. biarmicus were parasitized by 1490 chewing lice. Males of P. biarmicus showed higher prevalence and mean abundance than females with gradually descending values of prevalence, mean abundance and mean intensity from spring to autumn. The knowledge of the occurrence and population dynamics of lice on wild passerine birds can be useful in endangered species conservation programs and can also be applied to captive passerine birds, which may be analogous to resident birds in this sense

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