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PLoS One. 2015 Apr 8;10(4):e0121254. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121254. eCollection 2015.

Parasite prevalence corresponds to host life history in a diverse assemblage of afrotropical birds and haemosporidian parasites.

Author information

1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America; Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America; Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America; Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.
2
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America.
3
Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.
4
Department of Biology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, United States of America.
5
Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Ornithology Department and Department of Biodiversity, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

Abstract

Avian host life history traits have been hypothesized to predict rates of infection by haemosporidian parasites. Using molecular techniques, we tested this hypothesis for parasites from three haemosporidian genera (Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon) collected from a diverse sampling of birds in northern Malawi. We found that host life history traits were significantly associated with parasitism rates by all three parasite genera. Nest type and nest location predicted infection probability for all three parasite genera, whereas flocking behavior is an important predictor of Plasmodium and Haemoproteus infection and habitat is an important predictor of Leucocytozoon infection. Parasite prevalence was 79.1% across all individuals sampled, higher than that reported for comparable studies from any other region of the world. Parasite diversity was also exceptionally high, with 248 parasite cytochrome b lineages identified from 152 host species. A large proportion of Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon parasite DNA sequences identified in this study represent new, previously undocumented lineages (n = 201; 81% of total identified) based on BLAST queries against the avian malaria database, MalAvi.

PMID:
25853491
PMCID:
PMC4390322
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0121254
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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