Can the intake of antiparasitic secondary metabolites explain the low prevalence of hemoparasites among wild Psittaciformes?

Juan F. Masello, Javier Martínez, Luciano Calderón, Michael Wink, Petra Quillfeldt, Virginia Sanz, Jörn Theuerkauf, Luis Ortiz-Catedral, Igor Berkunsky, Dianne Brunton, José A. Díaz-Luque, Mark E. Hauber, Valeria Ojeda, Antoine Barnaud, Laura Casalins, Bethany Jackson, Alfredo Mijares, Romel Rosales, Gláucia Seixas, Patricia SerafiniAdriana Silva-Iturriza, Elenise Sipinski, Rodrigo A. Vásquez, Peter Widmann, Indira Widmann, Santiago Merino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Parasites can exert selection pressure on their hosts through effects on survival, on reproductive success, on sexually selected ornament, with important ecological and evolutionary consequences, such as changes in population viability. Consequently, hemoparasites have become the focus of recent avian studies. Infection varies significantly among taxa. Various factors might explain the differences in infection among taxa, including habitat, climate, host density, the presence of vectors, life history and immune defence. Feeding behaviour can also be relevant both through increased exposure to vectors and consumption of secondary metabolites with preventative or therapeutic effects that can reduce parasite load. However, the latter has been little investigated. Psittaciformes (parrots and cockatoos) are a good model to investigate these topics, as they are known to use biological control against ectoparasites and to feed on toxic food. We investigated the presence of avian malaria parasites (Plasmodium), intracellular haemosporidians (Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon), unicellular flagellate protozoans (Trypanosoma) and microfilariae in 19 Psittaciformes species from a range of habitats in the Indo-Malayan, Australasian and Neotropical regions. We gathered additional data on hemoparasites in wild Psittaciformes from the literature. We considered factors that may control the presence of hemoparasites in the Psittaciformes, compiling information on diet, habitat, and climate. Furthermore, we investigated the role of diet in providing antiparasitic secondary metabolites that could be used as self-medication to reduce parasite load. Results: We found hemoparasites in only two of 19 species sampled. Among them, all species that consume at least one food item known for its secondary metabolites with antimalarial, trypanocidal or general antiparasitic properties, were free from hemoparasites. In contrast, the infected parrots do not consume food items with antimalarial or even general antiparasitic properties. We found that the two infected species in this study consumed omnivorous diets. When we combined our data with data from studies previously investigating blood parasites in wild parrots, the positive relationship between omnivorous diets and hemoparasite infestation was confirmed. Individuals from open habitats were less infected than those from forests. Conclusions: The consumption of food items known for their secondary metabolites with antimalarial, trypanocidal or general antiparasitic properties, as well as the higher proportion of infected species among omnivorous parrots, could explain the low prevalence of hemoparasites reported in many vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number357
JournalParasites and Vectors
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 19 2018

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Psittaciformes
Parrots
Antiparasitic Agents
Ecosystem
Antimalarials
Parasite Load
Diet
Food
Parasites
Climate
Avian Malaria
Cockatoos
Trypanosoma
Self Medication
Microfilariae
Plasmodium
Poisons
Therapeutic Uses
Feeding Behavior
Infection

Keywords

  • Antiparasitic metabolites
  • Blood parasites
  • Cacatuidae
  • Haemoparasites
  • Herbivorous
  • Omnivorous
  • Plant secondary metabolites
  • Psittacidae
  • Self-medication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this

Can the intake of antiparasitic secondary metabolites explain the low prevalence of hemoparasites among wild Psittaciformes? / Masello, Juan F.; Martínez, Javier; Calderón, Luciano; Wink, Michael; Quillfeldt, Petra; Sanz, Virginia; Theuerkauf, Jörn; Ortiz-Catedral, Luis; Berkunsky, Igor; Brunton, Dianne; Díaz-Luque, José A.; Hauber, Mark E.; Ojeda, Valeria; Barnaud, Antoine; Casalins, Laura; Jackson, Bethany; Mijares, Alfredo; Rosales, Romel; Seixas, Gláucia; Serafini, Patricia; Silva-Iturriza, Adriana; Sipinski, Elenise; Vásquez, Rodrigo A.; Widmann, Peter; Widmann, Indira; Merino, Santiago.

In: Parasites and Vectors, Vol. 11, No. 1, 357, 19.06.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Masello, JF, Martínez, J, Calderón, L, Wink, M, Quillfeldt, P, Sanz, V, Theuerkauf, J, Ortiz-Catedral, L, Berkunsky, I, Brunton, D, Díaz-Luque, JA, Hauber, ME, Ojeda, V, Barnaud, A, Casalins, L, Jackson, B, Mijares, A, Rosales, R, Seixas, G, Serafini, P, Silva-Iturriza, A, Sipinski, E, Vásquez, RA, Widmann, P, Widmann, I & Merino, S 2018, 'Can the intake of antiparasitic secondary metabolites explain the low prevalence of hemoparasites among wild Psittaciformes?', Parasites and Vectors, vol. 11, no. 1, 357. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-018-2940-3
Masello, Juan F. ; Martínez, Javier ; Calderón, Luciano ; Wink, Michael ; Quillfeldt, Petra ; Sanz, Virginia ; Theuerkauf, Jörn ; Ortiz-Catedral, Luis ; Berkunsky, Igor ; Brunton, Dianne ; Díaz-Luque, José A. ; Hauber, Mark E. ; Ojeda, Valeria ; Barnaud, Antoine ; Casalins, Laura ; Jackson, Bethany ; Mijares, Alfredo ; Rosales, Romel ; Seixas, Gláucia ; Serafini, Patricia ; Silva-Iturriza, Adriana ; Sipinski, Elenise ; Vásquez, Rodrigo A. ; Widmann, Peter ; Widmann, Indira ; Merino, Santiago. / Can the intake of antiparasitic secondary metabolites explain the low prevalence of hemoparasites among wild Psittaciformes?. In: Parasites and Vectors. 2018 ; Vol. 11, No. 1.
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Can the intake of antiparasitic secondary metabolites explain the low prevalence of hemoparasites among wild Psittaciformes?

AU - Masello, Juan F.

AU - Martínez, Javier

AU - Calderón, Luciano

AU - Wink, Michael

AU - Quillfeldt, Petra

AU - Sanz, Virginia

AU - Theuerkauf, Jörn

AU - Ortiz-Catedral, Luis

AU - Berkunsky, Igor

AU - Brunton, Dianne

AU - Díaz-Luque, José A.

AU - Hauber, Mark E.

AU - Ojeda, Valeria

AU - Barnaud, Antoine

AU - Casalins, Laura

AU - Jackson, Bethany

AU - Mijares, Alfredo

AU - Rosales, Romel

AU - Seixas, Gláucia

AU - Serafini, Patricia

AU - Silva-Iturriza, Adriana

AU - Sipinski, Elenise

AU - Vásquez, Rodrigo A.

AU - Widmann, Peter

AU - Widmann, Indira

AU - Merino, Santiago

PY - 2018/6/19

Y1 - 2018/6/19

N2 - Background: Parasites can exert selection pressure on their hosts through effects on survival, on reproductive success, on sexually selected ornament, with important ecological and evolutionary consequences, such as changes in population viability. Consequently, hemoparasites have become the focus of recent avian studies. Infection varies significantly among taxa. Various factors might explain the differences in infection among taxa, including habitat, climate, host density, the presence of vectors, life history and immune defence. Feeding behaviour can also be relevant both through increased exposure to vectors and consumption of secondary metabolites with preventative or therapeutic effects that can reduce parasite load. However, the latter has been little investigated. Psittaciformes (parrots and cockatoos) are a good model to investigate these topics, as they are known to use biological control against ectoparasites and to feed on toxic food. We investigated the presence of avian malaria parasites (Plasmodium), intracellular haemosporidians (Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon), unicellular flagellate protozoans (Trypanosoma) and microfilariae in 19 Psittaciformes species from a range of habitats in the Indo-Malayan, Australasian and Neotropical regions. We gathered additional data on hemoparasites in wild Psittaciformes from the literature. We considered factors that may control the presence of hemoparasites in the Psittaciformes, compiling information on diet, habitat, and climate. Furthermore, we investigated the role of diet in providing antiparasitic secondary metabolites that could be used as self-medication to reduce parasite load. Results: We found hemoparasites in only two of 19 species sampled. Among them, all species that consume at least one food item known for its secondary metabolites with antimalarial, trypanocidal or general antiparasitic properties, were free from hemoparasites. In contrast, the infected parrots do not consume food items with antimalarial or even general antiparasitic properties. We found that the two infected species in this study consumed omnivorous diets. When we combined our data with data from studies previously investigating blood parasites in wild parrots, the positive relationship between omnivorous diets and hemoparasite infestation was confirmed. Individuals from open habitats were less infected than those from forests. Conclusions: The consumption of food items known for their secondary metabolites with antimalarial, trypanocidal or general antiparasitic properties, as well as the higher proportion of infected species among omnivorous parrots, could explain the low prevalence of hemoparasites reported in many vertebrates.

AB - Background: Parasites can exert selection pressure on their hosts through effects on survival, on reproductive success, on sexually selected ornament, with important ecological and evolutionary consequences, such as changes in population viability. Consequently, hemoparasites have become the focus of recent avian studies. Infection varies significantly among taxa. Various factors might explain the differences in infection among taxa, including habitat, climate, host density, the presence of vectors, life history and immune defence. Feeding behaviour can also be relevant both through increased exposure to vectors and consumption of secondary metabolites with preventative or therapeutic effects that can reduce parasite load. However, the latter has been little investigated. Psittaciformes (parrots and cockatoos) are a good model to investigate these topics, as they are known to use biological control against ectoparasites and to feed on toxic food. We investigated the presence of avian malaria parasites (Plasmodium), intracellular haemosporidians (Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon), unicellular flagellate protozoans (Trypanosoma) and microfilariae in 19 Psittaciformes species from a range of habitats in the Indo-Malayan, Australasian and Neotropical regions. We gathered additional data on hemoparasites in wild Psittaciformes from the literature. We considered factors that may control the presence of hemoparasites in the Psittaciformes, compiling information on diet, habitat, and climate. Furthermore, we investigated the role of diet in providing antiparasitic secondary metabolites that could be used as self-medication to reduce parasite load. Results: We found hemoparasites in only two of 19 species sampled. Among them, all species that consume at least one food item known for its secondary metabolites with antimalarial, trypanocidal or general antiparasitic properties, were free from hemoparasites. In contrast, the infected parrots do not consume food items with antimalarial or even general antiparasitic properties. We found that the two infected species in this study consumed omnivorous diets. When we combined our data with data from studies previously investigating blood parasites in wild parrots, the positive relationship between omnivorous diets and hemoparasite infestation was confirmed. Individuals from open habitats were less infected than those from forests. Conclusions: The consumption of food items known for their secondary metabolites with antimalarial, trypanocidal or general antiparasitic properties, as well as the higher proportion of infected species among omnivorous parrots, could explain the low prevalence of hemoparasites reported in many vertebrates.

KW - Antiparasitic metabolites

KW - Blood parasites

KW - Cacatuidae

KW - Haemoparasites

KW - Herbivorous

KW - Omnivorous

KW - Plant secondary metabolites

KW - Psittacidae

KW - Self-medication

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