Ticks (Ixodes sp.) and blood parasites (Haemoproteus spp.) in New Holland Honeyeaters (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae): Evidence for site specificity and fitness costs

  • Kleindorfer S
  • Lambert S
  • Paton D
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Abstract

New Holland Honeyeaters (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae, Meliphagidae) were examined for tick and blood parasite prevalence and intensity during a single breeding season (June-November 2004) at four locations in South Australia. We examined 126 birds for ticks and 110 of these birds for blood parasites. Twenty-two birds (17.5%) were infested with one to two ticks from the genus Ixodes. Ten birds (9.1%) were infected with blood parasites from the genus Haemoproteus (intensity was low, on average 0.016% infected blood cells). There was no relation between blood parasite and tick prevalence within birds and across sites. We found no relationship between blood parasites and site, or age, sex, or body condition of hosts. Tick prevalence was significantly related to host age (being higher in juveniles than adults), site (ticks were only found in coastal areas), and reduced body condition. This study provides preliminary evidence for a geographical pattern of tick (Ixodes sp.) distribution: we found ticks on Kangaroo Island and in a coastal area of the Fleurieu Peninsula, but not at sites more inland within the Mount Lofty Ranges.

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Authors

  • Sonia Kleindorfer

  • Sarah Lambert

  • David C. Paton

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