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Trends Ecol Evol. 2000 Sep;15(9):358-364.

Mites and birds: diversity, parasitism and coevolution.

Abstract

Ectoparasites play important roles in the lives of birds. Among these parasites, mites offer unique potential because of their extraordinary ecological and evolutionary diversity. However, the basic biology of most mites is poorly understood, and misleading extrapolations are sometimes made from better studied systems involving lice and fleas. Most importantly, not all bird-associated mites are parasitic; indeed, recent research suggests that some might even be beneficial. Here, we summarize what is known about the diversity of bird-mite relationships, and highlight how mites provide an ideal tool for the study of host life histories, sexual selection, immunocompetence and cospeciation.

PMID:
10931667
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