Spatial patterns of avian malaria prevalence in Zonotrichia capensis on the western slope of the Peruvian Andes

M. R. Jones, Z. A. Cheviron, M. D. Carling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Environmental heterogeneity largely dictates the spatial distributions of parasites and therefore the susceptibility to infection of host populations. We surveyed avian malaria infections in Rufous-collared sparrows (Zonotrichia capensis) across replicated altitudinal and latitudinal transects along the western slope of the Peruvian Andes to assess geographic patterns of prevalence. We found malaria infection prevalence peaked at midelevations along all 3 altitudinal transects (x ≈ 2,733 m), with highest overall prevalence observed in the northern transect. We observed low levels of malarial parasite diversity, with 94% of infected birds carrying a single Haemoproteus (subgenus Parahaemoproteus) strain. The remaining infected birds harbored either a single alternate Haemoproteus or 1 of 2 Plasmodium strains. Our data suggest that temperature and precipitation are the primary drivers of the spatial patterns in avian malaria prevalence along the western slope of the Andes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)903-905
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Parasitology
Volume99
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 18 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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