Are parasite intensity and related costs of the milichiid fly Carnus hemapterus related to host sociality?

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2010
Authors:H. Hoi, Krištofík, J., Darolova, A., Hoi, C.
Journal:Journal of Ornithology
Date Published:Oct
Type of Article:Article
ISBN Number:0021-8375
Accession Number:ZOOREC:ZOOR14702011658
Keywords:behaviour, Carnidae, Carnus hemapterus, Merops apiaster, Slovakia

Ectoparasites have often been shown to have detrimental effects on their host. Not much is known, however, about determinants of infestation, e.g. the question of which factors affect distribution and occurrence of parasites on different host species (degree of host specificity) and their infestation rates. In this study we examine possible effects of host determinants on parasite intensity of Carnus hemapterus (Carnidae), an ectoparasitic fly on nestling birds, in the European bee-eater (Merops apiaster), which is a common host of C. hemapterus. Our results show that European bee-eaters seem to be one of the most heavily infested host species of C. hemapterus. We found that brood size, nestling age, and colony size are the most important determinants of infestation by C. hemapterus. This parasite seems to prefer medium-sized bee-eater chicks and to select them according to their condition. Our results further suggest a negative effect of C. hemapterus on chick development.

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