Haemosporidian Parasite Infections In the Dickcissel ( Spiza americana): Prevalence and Costs

Todd M. Jones, Loren Merrill, Steven E. Zachar, Jeffrey D Brawn, Michael Patrick Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Haemosporidian parasites are widespread in birds and are commonly used to evaluate ecological, evolutionary, and behavioral consequences of pathogen infection. While haemosporidian parasites may be important agents of selection, information on the incidence and outcomes of infection in many wild birds remains incomplete and warrants further inquiry. We examined the prevalence and costs of haemosporidian parasites in a wild population of dickcissels ( Spiza americana; n = 170) breeding in central Illinois. Over 2 breeding seasons, prevalence of haemosporidian parasites was 41% and was similar between sexes and years. Within each sex, there was no association between proxies of fitness (body condition and number of fledglings produced) and infection status. While we found no evidence that haemosporidian parasites have a direct, negative impact on dickcissels, we discuss how extra-pair paternity and changes across the life cycle of dickcissels and haemosporidian parasites may have masked or prevented detection of negative effects in our study. Ultimately our findings contribute to a growing literature providing improved clarity on how and when parasite infections can negatively impact wild host organisms and can aid in guiding future work examining such associations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-236
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of parasitology
Volume105
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

Fingerprint

Parasitic Diseases
parasite
Parasites
Costs and Cost Analysis
parasites
cost
infection
Birds
Breeding
Infection
bird
Proxy
Life Cycle Stages
gender
paternity
wild birds
body condition
wild population
breeding season
life cycle (organisms)

Keywords

  • Birds
  • Condition
  • Fitness
  • Haemosporidian
  • Infection
  • Parasites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Haemosporidian Parasite Infections In the Dickcissel ( Spiza americana) : Prevalence and Costs. / Jones, Todd M.; Merrill, Loren; Zachar, Steven E.; Brawn, Jeffrey D; Ward, Michael Patrick.

In: The Journal of parasitology, Vol. 105, No. 2, 01.04.2019, p. 232-236.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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