Effects of black flies on wild turkeys during the breeding season

Morgan Meador, Christine Parker, Wendy M. Schelsky, Jeffrey P. Hoover

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Black flies (Diptera:Simuliidae) have a worldwide distribution, and are known noxious pests of humans, livestock, and wildlife. There is limited understanding of the impact black flies have on the survival, reproductive success, and behavior of their wildlife hosts. Wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) are one such host, and preliminary data collected in Illinois during 2017 suggested that black fly emergence coincided with the wild turkey breeding season; however, the effect on nest success was unknown. We then collected location and nesting data during 2018-2019 from wild turkey hens fitted with micro-GPS units in western (high black fly abundance) and south-central (low black fly abundance) regions of Illinois. We will present results of analyses comparing the timing and success of nesting to black fly emergence and abundance as determined from carbon dioxide baited traps deployed weekly during April - June. We will also present results of analyses comparing black fly abundances in proximity to active nests with black fly abundance levels captured across the landscape to determine if hen turkeys are actively avoiding (in time or space) black flies during the nesting period of the breeding season.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMidwest Fish and Wildlife Conference 2020
StatePublished - 2020


  • INHS


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