Blood parasites in birds from Madagascar

Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Box 110880, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.
Journal of wildlife diseases (Impact Factor: 1.36). 10/2009; 45(4):907-20. DOI: 10.7589/0090-3558-45.4.907
Source: PubMed


Madagascar has long been recognized for its unique and diverse biota. In particular, significant effort has been made to establish baseline population data to better conserve the endemic avifauna. During field expeditions between 1993 and 2004, birds were mist-netted at 11 different sites, at elevations from 60 m to 2,050 m above sea level. Data on endemic status, forest type, and habitat preference were recorded. Thin blood films from 947 birds, belonging to 26 families and 64 species, were examined by light microscopy to determine the prevalence of blood parasites. Of these 947 birds, 30.7% were infected by at least one species of blood parasite, 26.8% of which were infected by more than one species. Species of Haemoproteus were the most prevalent (17.4%), followed by microfilariae (11.0%), Leucocytozoon spp. (9.4%), Plasmodium spp. (1.9%), Trypanosoma spp. (0.9%), and Babesia spp. (0.2%). Species level identifications confirmed the presence of 47 species of hemosporidians and trypanosomes, which is notably high and mirrors the diversity of their avian hosts. Eleven (23.4%) of these parasite species were new to science and thought to be endemic to the island. Significant differences in prevalence were observed by sample site, forest type (humid vs. dry), and habitat preference. Birds from all elevational zones sampled were infected, although not all parasite genera were present in each zone. Four of the six endemic avian families or subfamilies (Bernieridae, Brachypteraciidae, Philepittinae [Eurylaimidae], and Vangidae) were sampled and found to be parasitized. Of the families with the largest sample sizes, the Zosteropidae and Ploceidae had the highest prevalence of infection (65.6% and 49.3%, respectively). The vectors of hematozoan parasites in Madagascar are currently unknown. These results add to the current knowledge of avian parasitism in Madagascar and are of particular interest for the conservation of endemic species, as well as threatened or endangered populations.

Download full-text


Available from: Aristide Andrianarimisa, Mar 13, 2014
36 Reads
  • Source
    • "Valkiu ¯nas (2005) summarized prevalence data for Plasmodium and Leucocytozoon, showing that Leucocytozoon is globally more prevalent than Plasmodium. The relative prevalences of the two genera in the continental biogeographic zones closest to the Mascarenes are quite similar, but those of Leucocytozoon are usually slightly higher: 1.9% and 9.4% in Madagascar, 3.2% and 4.6% in the Ethiopian region, and 0.8% and 2.9% in Southeast Asia for Plasmodium and Leucocytozoon, respectively (Valkiu ¯nas 2005; Savage et al. 2009). Data on the prevalence of hemosporidians in southern Africa, another potential source of parasites for the Mascarenes, are currently lacking, and such data will help "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Parasite diversity on remote oceanic archipelagos is determined by the number and timing of colonizations and by in situ diversification rate. In this study, we compare intra-archipelago diversity of two hemosporidian parasite genera, Plasmodium and Leucocytozoon, infecting birds of the Mascarene archipelago. Despite the generally higher vagility of Plasmodium parasites, we report a diversity of Plasmodium cytochrome b haplotypes in the archipelago much lower than that of Leucocytozoon. Using phylogenetic data, we find that this difference in diversity is consistent with differences in the timing and number of colonizations, while rates of diversification do not vary significantly between the two genera. The prominence of immigration history in explaining current diversity patterns highlights the importance of historical contingencies in driving disparate biogeographic patterns in potentially harmful blood parasites infecting island birds.
    The American Naturalist 12/2013; 182(6):820-833. DOI:10.1086/673724 · 3.83 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Although the importance of Hippoboscidae in the transmission of mammal and bird parasites in Madagascar has been suspected and to some extent documented (Daynes, 1964; Savage et al., 2009), members of this family remain poorly documented on the island. We here present the first comprehensive review of Malagasy Hippoboscidae (sensu stricto i.e. excluding Nycteribiidae and Streblidae). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Hippoboscidae or "louse-flies" is a family of pupiparous Diptera, which in their adult stage are ectoparasites of mammals and birds. This paper presents a comprehensive review of Malagasy Hippoboscidae. In total, amongst the 213 species of this family known worldwide, 14 have been reported in Madagascar, among which six are considered as endemic to the Malagasy region. In addition, data are presented from a collection of 17 Hippoboscidae obtained from seven species of forest-dwelling birds in the "Parc National de Midongy Befotaka", southeastern Madagascar, in 2003. The flies in this collection belong to three different species: Icosta malagasii (one), Ornithoica podicipis (ten) and Ornithoctona laticomis (six). The two former species were previously only known from single specimens in museum collections; the later species is distributed across much of the Afrotropical region and the records presented herein are the first for Madagascar. All the seven bird species are new hosts for hippoboscids. We present the first description of the male of Icosta malagasii. An illustrated dichotomous determination key of the 14 Malagasy species, based on morphological criteria only, is presented.
    Parasite 05/2011; 18(2):127-40. DOI:10.1051/parasite/2011182127 · 1.09 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The genetic diversity of haematozoan parasites in island avifauna has only recently begun to be explored, despite the potential insight that these data can provide into the history of association between hosts and parasites and the possible threat posed to island endemics. We used mitochondrial DNA sequencing to characterize the diversity of 2 genera of vector-mediated parasites (Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) in avian blood samples from the western Indian Ocean region and explored their relationship with parasites from continental Africa. We detected infections in 68 out of 150 (45·3%) individuals and cytochrome b sequences identified 9 genetically distinct lineages of Plasmodium spp. and 7 lineages of Haemoproteus spp. We found considerable heterogeneity in parasite lineage composition across islands, although limited sampling may, in part, be responsible for perceived differences. Two lineages of Plasmodium spp. and 2 lineages of Haemoproteus spp. were shared by hosts in the Indian Ocean and also on mainland Africa, suggesting that these lineages may have arrived relatively recently. Polyphyly of island parasites indicated that these parasites were unlikely to constitute an endemic radiation and instead probably represent multiple colonization events. This study represents the first molecular survey of vector-mediated parasites in the western Indian Ocean, and has uncovered a diversity of parasites. Full understanding of parasite community composition and possible threats to endemic avian hosts will require comprehensive surveys across the avifauna of this region.
    Parasitology 11/2011; 139(2):221-31. DOI:10.1017/S0031182011001831 · 2.56 Impact Factor
Show more