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Determinants of prevalence and intensity of infection with malaria parasites in the Blue Tit
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2014 (English)In: Journal of Ornithology = Journal fur Ornithologie, ISSN 0021-8375, E-ISSN 1439-0361, Vol. 155, no 3, 721-727 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Parasite species are usually specialists utilising specific host species, but parasite assemblages may differ substantially even between populations of the same species and show seasonal and annual fluctuations. Host characteristics such as individual age and sex may also affect parasite species composition and abundance. Here, we report the occurrence of malaria parasites in the Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) inhabiting Gotland (Sweden) across 5 years. Using PCR-based techniques, we found eight cytochrome b lineages belonging to genus Plasmodium (pTURUD1, pBT7, pSGS1, pSW2, pGRW11) and Haemoproteus (hPARUS1, hPHSIB1, hWW2) with the overall prevalence of 65 %. The Plasmodium infections predominated (prevalence of 49.5 %), whereas Haemoproteus infection rate was much lower (prevalence of 16.5 %). We showed significant differences in infection status between study years and age classes when all parasite lineages were analysed together or the two most common lineages were analysed separately. Overall, older birds showed higher prevalence. A significant interaction between year and genus effect significantly explained variation in infection intensity. This interaction stems from a significant yearly variation of the infection intensity with Plasmodium, while such an effect is not present for Haemoproteus infections. More importantly, the intensity of infection with Haemoproteus was significantly higher than with Plasmodium in 3 out of the 4 study years with data.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 155, no 3, 721-727 p.
Keyword [en]
Avian malaria, Haemoproteus, Plasmodium, Host-parasite interactions
National Category
Ecology Zoology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-228980DOI: 10.1007/s10336-014-1058-4ISI: 000337792500017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-228980DiVA: diva2:735300
Available from: 2014-07-25 Created: 2014-07-24 Last updated: 2014-07-25Bibliographically approved

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Gustafsson, Lars
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Animal ecology
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Journal of Ornithology = Journal fur Ornithologie

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