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FIRST RECORDS OF THE CHEWING LICE (PHTHIRAPTERA) ASSOCIATED WITH MEROPIDAE SPECIES IN BISKRA (NORTHERN SAHARA, ALGERIA)

Authors:

Abstract

Studies on bird ectoparasites are little studied in Algeria. The work presented, is interested in ectoparasites attached to the families of Meropidae, namely the European Bee-eater Merops apiaster and Blue- cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus, these two species are migratory birds that cause damage to the beekeeper. Where it consumes many bees while arriving at the breeding territory. The objective of this work, to determine the ectoparasites of these two species breeding in Algeria. The bee-eaters were captured in April 2018 by beekeepers, using glue on rocks to protect their hives. Captured individuals were transported to the laboratory to collect the ectoparasites. The 4 bee-eaters examined were infested as follows, 3 species of ectoparasites found on the individuals belonged to the Meropidae family, namely Meromenopon meropis, Meropoecus meropis, and Meropsiella erythropteri. Keywords: Chewing lice, Merops apiaster, Merops persicus, Biskra.
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FIRST RECORDS OF THE CHEWING LICE (PHTHIRAPTERA)
ASSOCIATED WITH MEROPIDAE SPECIES IN BISKRA (NORTHERN
SAHARA, ALGERIA)
TORKI S(1) , MARNICHE F(2) , DIK B (3), GUEZOUL O(1)
(1) Université Kasdi Merbah -Ouargla (Algérie), Laboratoire des Bioressources sahariennes.
Préservation et valorisation 30000 Ouargla, Algérie.
Email : torki.somia@univ-ouargla.dz
oguezoul@yahoo.fr
(2) Laboratory of zoology, National School of Veterinary Superior of El Alia (ENSV), Algiers,
Algeria.
fexena@hotmail.fr
(3) Selçuk University, Veterinary Faculty, Department of Parasitology, Selcuklu, Konya, Turkey.
bdik2005@yahoo.com
ABSTRACT
Studies on bird ectoparasites are little studied in Algeria. The work presented, is interested in
ectoparasites attached to the families of Meropidae, namely the European Bee-eater Merops
apiaster and Blue- cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus, these two species are migratory birds
that cause damage to the beekeeper. Where it consumes many bees while arriving at the
breeding territory. The objective of this work, to determine the ectoparasites of these two
species breeding in Algeria. The bee-eaters were captured in April 2018 by beekeepers, using
glue on rocks to protect their hives. Captured individuals were transported to the laboratory
to collect the ectoparasites. The 4 bee-eaters examined were infested as follows, 3 species of
ectoparasites found on the individuals belonged to the Meropidae family, namely
Meromenopon meropis, Meropoecus meropis, and Meropsiella erythropteri.
Keywords: Chewing lice, Merops apiaster, Merops persicus, Biskra.
INTRODUCTION
Wild birds carry many parasites (viruses, bacteria, fungi, macro parasites, etc.), some
of which are pathogens and can potentially be transmitted to humans or domestic animals.
Birds also have the ability to move quickly over long distances. Within a few weeks, billions
of birds move from one continent to another every year to reach their wintering or nesting
sites, depending on the season. During these journeys, they carry with them a wide range of
pathogens that can lead to the emergence of diseases in areas that were previously free
(Jourdain, 2006). Ectoparasites are small organisms that mainly affect the skin. They feed by
eating dead skin and feather cells, piercing the integument and sucking blood, or secreting
tissue (Barraca, 2005).
In Saharan areas, the European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) and the Blue- cheeked
Bee-eater (M. persicus) are summer migratory birds that return to their breeding grounds in
late March and early April and leave mainly in August (Fry et Fry, 1997).They are strictly
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insectivorous birds, whose diet is mainly composed of Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Lepidoptera
and other types of flying insects.
In Algeria, only one study carried out by (Marniche, 2011), was reported on the
trophic regime of these two Meropidae species (Merops apiaster and M. persicus) in different
bioclimatic stages of Algeria. In addition, most studies on Meropidae ectoparasites worldwide
have been conducted mainly on Merops apiaster (Price et Emersonk, 1977; Kristofik et al,
1996; Hoi et al, 1998; Adam, 2004 et Al-ahmed et al, 2012) .
2. METHODOLOGY
2.1. Location of the study area
Biskra is located in the southeast of Algeria, in the southern foothills of the Saharan
Atlas. This mountainous massif constitutes the northern limit of the region. It acts as a barrier
that slows the spread of Mediterranean climate influences. The Biskra region is bounded to
the north by the El Kantara gorges or Safa ford, to the east by the Ahmar Khedou flanks of the
Nementcha Mountains, to the south-east by the South African depression, to the south by the
northern end of the Saharan Shield and further south by the Souf dunes and to the west by the
Ouled Naïl Mountains and the rugged Ben Ghazal ranges (Despois, 1949).
The study region is located in El Outaya plain northwest of Biskra; its territory covers
an area of 406.10km2. It is bordered to the north by the commune of El Kantara, to the south
by the commune of El Hadjeb, to the east by the commune of Branis and Djemourah and to
the west by the commune of Tolga. It is characterized by beekeeping activity, due to the
abundance of natural and cultivated vegetation.
2.2 Methods of collection of Ectoparasites
The Bee-eater individuals (Merops apiaster and M. persicus) were caught by beekeepers
during the attack on hives (on April 12, 2018), using a sticky trap (glue). Once recovered,
they were placed in a plastic bag with a label and hermetically sealed to preserve bird
ectoparasites. Ectoparasites were collected on dead birds from head to tail. Sampling was
carried out using entomological forceps. The ectoparasites species found were stored in the
test tube with a cap containing alcohol (70%). The identification of the species was made by
Professor MARNICHE Faiza (National School of Veterinary Medicine of El Alia, Algiers)
and confirmation by Professor DIK Bilal (Department of Veterinary and Parasitology
Konya, Turkey).
3. RESULTAS
During this study, 17 crusher lice individuals were collected from four Meropidae
individuals (2 Merops apiaster and 2 M. persicus). The Mallophaga are distributed among
three species (Meromenopon meropis, Meropoecus meropis and Meropsiella erythropteri).
These two species of lice Meromenopon meropis and Meropoecus meropis are frequently
encountered in Merops apiaster and Merops persicus. At the same time, four individuals of
Meropsiella erythropteri were located only in the feathers of Merops persicus. Meromenopon
meropis was present in the digestive tract of Merops persicus.
Meromenopon meropis (Clay and Meinertzhagen, 1941): Study material: 3♀ 3♂,
12.04.2018 (El Ouatay, Biskra): host: European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) and Blue-
cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus). It is a species that mainly attacks the Merops
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apiaster. Even this species was found in the digestive tract of Merops persicus (1 ♂)
as shown in Figure 3.
Meropoecus meropis (Denny, 1842): Study material: 2♀ 2♂, 12.04.2018 (El Outaya,
Biskra);host: European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
(Merops persicus). It was found on both species of Meropidae as shown in Figure 2.
Meropsiella erythropteri: Study material (Piaget, 1885); 1♀ 3♂, 12.04.2018, (El
Ouatay, Biskra); host: Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus) as shown in Figure 1
3.1. Morphological description of Meropidae lice ectoparasites
Meromenopon meropis in accordance with Clay et Meinertzhagen (1941) presents an
absence of maxillary palps; an antennae filiform with 5 segments directed backwardon the
side of head; an absent periocular slit; third legs and abdominal sternites without such groups
of setae, body stout, head broader than long; postgenae enlarged with more than one seta;
clypeus with transparent anterior part reaches carina (Al-ahmed et al, 2012).
Meropoecus meropis according to Denny (1842) presents maxillary palps; antennae
capitates, 5 segmented, concealed in antennal fossae; a pre-ocular slit present, generally deep
and narrow, hind legs and abdominal sternites with groups of small seta (Al-ahmed et al,
2012). Meropsiella erythropteri (=Brueelia erythropteri) presented by Piaget (1885), shows
a thimble shaded head with preantennal region conical, ventral marginal carina interrupted
medially; dorsal marginal carina complete, but indented medially and interrupted laterally; no
dorsal anterior plate; antennae filiform and similar in both sexe; prothorax small with lateral
margins slightly concave, pterothorax broader than long with sides diverging and posteror
margin evenly rounded; abdomen an elongate oval with a large basal plate and short, bluant
parameres; proximal head of parameres bifureate and pointed; dorsal arms of endomere not
fused with basal apodeme; distal end of paramere usually with four sensilla in a row (Sandra
Wiliams, 1981).The male of this species are distinguished from the others found on the
Meropidae by having the proximal head of the genetal paramere large, bifurcate and pointed
(Sandra Wiliams, 1981).
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Fig. 1 Meropsiella erythropteri of Merops persicus; on the right- femele and on the left-male, original
(Dik,2018).
Fig. 2 Meromenepon meropis of Merops persicus; on the right- femele and on the left-male,
original(Dik,2018). .
Fig. 3 Meropoecus meropis of Merops persicus ; on the right- femele and on the left-male, original
(Dik,2018).
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4. DISCUSSION
Three new species of Mallophaga have been reported for parasitological fauna in
Algeria, as well as the Meropsiella erythropteri species related to Merops persicus for the
first time worldwide. This species is related to other Merops, such as Merops bulocki, M.
nubicus, M. albicollis, M. orientalis, M. pusillus, M. superciliosus and M. revilii (Sandra
Wiliams, 1981).
The abundance value of Merops infested crusher lice is converged into 7 for species
Meromenopon meropis and 6 individuals for Meropoecus meropis and 4 individuals for
Meropsiella erythropteri species.
Based on the studies carried out in Europe and Asia, the work of (Kristofik et al,
1996), has been reported in Italy, in Romania (Petrescu et Adam, 2001; Adam, 2004 et
Adam et al, 2009), in Turkey (Dik et al 2017; Dik et al, 2011), in Arabia Saudia (Al-
ahmed et al, 2012) and in Hungary (Karath et al, 2013), the two species of Meromenopon
meropis which belong to the family of Menoponidae and the species Meropoecus meropis
represented by a family of Philopteridae, are specific species of Merops apiaster, because
bee-eaters breed in southern Europe and in parts of north Africa and western Asia. They are
strongly migratory, wintering in tropical Africa.
In Algeria, the Menoponidae family was found in Columba livia and Luscinia
megarhynchos species (Baziz-Neffah et al, 2015). (Benjoudi et al, 2018) reported the
presence of this family, which is also associated to the Columbidae family (Columba livia and
Streptopelia decaocto). It is important to note that the Menoponidae family also parasitizes
waterbirds, such as the common coot (Roaug-Ziane et al, 2007) and (Merabet et al, 2013).
According to work carried out by (Najer et al, 2012) in Senegal and (Najer et al, 2014) in
Vietnam, the specie Meropsiella erythropteri that parasitizes Merops bulocki (Vieillot, 1817)
in Senegal and parasitizez M. eschenaulti (Vieillot, 1817) in Vietnam, it is the first case of
Meropsiella erythropteri associated with Merops persicus in both sexes. Merops Buloki is a
specific species of the African continent, but Merops leschenaulti occupies Asia. In contrast
to the Merops persicus, it is a migratory species between the African continent and Asia,
rarely signaled in Europe. The contamination of Merops persicus by the louse Meropsiella
erythropteri can be the species occupies the same breeding place.
CONCLUSION
Parasitological fauna is little known in Algeria, especially in the ornithological field. Little
work has been done in the Arab and African world on the family health status of Meropidae.
In Algeria, the study of ectoparasites infested with Meropidae is being carried out for the first
time. This study was preliminary, but it aimed to understand the parasites that coexist with the
two species of bee-eaters breeding in Algeria; Merops apiaster and Merops persicus.
Despite the small number of bee-eaters examined (since according to Algerian law, bee-
eaters are protected species) the identified population of chewing lice (Mallophaga) was
diverse. Two species of chewing lice, Meromenopon meropis, and Meropoecus meropis, were
found in the feathers of Merops apiaster and M. persicus. While the species Meropsiella
erythropteri was observed for the first time in association with Merops persicus.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors would like to extend their gratitude to Professor MARNICHE Faiza
(Zoology Laboratory of the National Veterinary School of Algiers) and Professor DIK Bilal
(Department of Veterinary and Parasitology of Konya, Turkey) for their support on
identifying the specimens. We would also like to thank Miss SAADI Hacina who reported
the beekeepers' collected hives along with her moral and financial support.
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We present the results of the studies on the chewing lice from 80 birds belonging to 33 species (only two domestic, the others being wild) of Romania, collected mostly during the last three years (2006-2008). From the 55 chewing louse species identified in the studied material, four of them are new reports for the parasitological fauna of Romania, namely: Goniodes tetraonis, Brueelia kratochvili, B. tenuis and Penenirmus speciosus. Also, the following six new chewing louse species – bird species associations are reported for the first time all over the world: Austromenopon transversum on Larus michahellis; Colpocephalum nanum on Buteo rufinus; Menacanthus eurysternus on Passer montanus; Laemobothrion (Laemobothrion) tinnunculi on Accipiter nisus; Sturnidoecus sp. on Fringilla montifringilla; and Philopterus sp. on Acrocephalus agricola. The presence of a chewing louse species on A. agricola is reported for the first time in the world. And not the least, it is reported, for the first time, the presence of six chewing louse species – bird species associations in the Romanian parasitological fauna. Résumé. On présente les résultats de l´étudie contre les mallophages collectées principalement au cours de les derniers trois années (2006-2008) sur 80 oiseaux appartenir à 33 d´espèces (seulement deux domestiques, le reste étant sauvage) originaire du territoire de Roumanie. Entre les 55 espèces de mallophages identifies dans le matériel analysé, quatre sont des nouveaux, signalés pour la faune parasitologique de la Roumanie, comme sont: Goniodes tetraonis, Brueelia kratochvili, B. tenuis et Penenirmus speciosus. Aussi sont signalées pour la première fois dans le monde les suivants six nouvelles associations espèces mallophage -espèces oiseaux: Austromenopon transversum sur Larus michahellis; Colpocephalum nanum sur Buteo rufinus; Menacanthus eurysternus sur Passer montanus; Laemobothrion (Laemobothrion) tinnunculi sur Accipiter nisus; Sturnidoecus sp. sur Fringilla montifringilla; et Philopterus sp. sur Acrocephalus agricola. On a signalée pour la première fois dans le monde la présence d'une espèce de mallophage sur A. agricola. Et non des moindres, on a signalée pour la première fois dans la faune parasitologique de la Roumanie, l´existence six associations espèce mallophage -espèce oiseaux.
Article
We studied the abundance of ectoparasites of young and adult bee-eaters and the arthropod fauna in their nests. The feather lice Meropoecus meropis and Meromenopon meropis were found on both adult and young bee-eaters while chicks were additionally parasitized by the fly Carnus hemapterus. The distribution of these parasites was characterized by a descending logarithmic curve. The nest fauna consisted mostly of parasitic mites and predaceous beetles. Mites were represented by a large number of Androlaelaps casalis, a facultative ectoparasite of birds. On the contrary, the blood-sucking mites Dermanyssus hirundinis, D. gallinae and Ornithonyssus sylviarum were little numerous and the occurrence of other mites was only occasional. Beetles were represented by a large number of the nidicolous staphylinide Haploglossa nidicola, which was accompanied by a low number of the nidicolous histeride Gnathoncus buyssoni. Occurrence of H. nidicola and A. casalis was moderately positively correlated. Large numbers of Dermestes spp. larvae occurred in the nests, too. Other beetle species occurred occasionally in the nest holes. Ticks and fleas occurred sporadically and were probably introduced by adult birds. They did not develop there. On the contrary, some flies, whose larvae had suitable conditions, developed in some nests. Spiders, pseudoscorpions and bugs were recorded only in a small number of species and individuals.
Some morphological aspects of the species Meropoecus meropis ( Denny , 1842 ) (Phthiraptera : Ischnocera ). Travaux Du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
Adam., C 2004.-Some morphological aspects of the species Meropoecus meropis ( Denny, 1842 ) (Phthiraptera : Ischnocera ). Travaux Du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle "Grigore Antipa," XLVII : 129-137.
First Records of the Chewing Lice ( Phthiraptera ) Associated with European Bee Eater (Merops Apiaster) in Saudi Arabia
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Al-ahmed A. Nasser M G E. Shobrak M.Dik B., 2012.-First Records of the Chewing Lice ( Phthiraptera ) Associated with European Bee Eater (Merops Apiaster) in Saudi Arabia. Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology 42(3): 525-533. doi.org/10.12816/000633.
Premiére données sur les parasites chez deux espèces de columbides, la Tourterelle turque Strepropelia decaocto et le pigeon biset Columba livia
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Benjoudi D. Marniche F. Messaoudi Z., 2018.-Premiére données sur les parasites chez deux espèces de columbides, la Tourterelle turque Strepropelia decaocto et le pigeon biset Columba livia. Agrobiologia 8 (1): 809-816. Retrieved from www.agrobiologia.net.
Hétérogénéité des relations parasites-oiseaux : importance écologique et rôle évolutif
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Géographie de l'univers français. L'Afrique blanche française
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Martins-pécheurs, Martins chasseurs
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