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Argentine ants harm nestlings of the blue tit

The consequences of ant invasions on ecosystems may only become apparent after long periods. In addition, predicting how sensitive native fauna will respond is only possible if the underlying proximate mechanisms of their impact are identified. The attraction of the native and invasive ant community to artificial bird nests was studied, together with reproduction of a wild native songbird over five consecutive breeding seasons in relation to the presence of an invasive ant species. Biometric, reproductive and individual blood parameters of great tits Parus major breeding in invaded as compared to uninvaded sites by Argentine ants Linepithema humile were analysed. Great tits bred preferably in uninvaded territories by the Argentine ant. Moreover, Argentine ants were more abundant at nests in invaded sites, than any native ant species were at uninvaded sites. Further, Argentine ants recruited at the artificial nests more intensively and responded to a larger variety of nest (intact eggs, cracked eggs, faeces, and cracked eggs plus faeces) contents than native species. Although breeding success and adult condition did not vary in relation to invasion status, offspring quality was negatively affected by the presence of Argentine ants. Nestlings reared in invaded sites were lighter, with lower wing/tarsus length ratio and had a reduced nutritional condition and altered oxidative stress balance as measured from several blood parameters. The interspersed distribution and small distance between invaded versus uninvaded territories suggest that ant presence affects nestling condition through direct interference at the nest. These results highlight the importance of evaluating the proximate effects like physiological parameters of the native fauna, when studying invasive ant-native bird interactions. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Álvarez et al (2020) Breeding consequences for a songbird nesting in Argentine ant' invaded land. Biol Invasions https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3
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Towards the identification of C. paolae and C. circumscriptus as potential vectors of avian haemosporidian parasites

Towards the identification of C. paolae and C. circumscriptus as potential vectors of avian haemosporidian parasites

Haemosporidians are the most important vector-borne parasites due to their cosmopolitan distribution and their wide range of hosts, including humans. Identification of their vectors is critical to highlight ecologically and epidemiologically relevant features such as host specificity or transmission routes. Biting midges of the genus Culicoides are considered the main vectors of Haemoproteus spp., yet important information on aspects such as vector feeding preferences or vector-host specificity involving haemosporidian parasites is frequently missing. The abundance of Culicoides circumscriptus and C. paolae was assessed as well as blood sources of the latter at the nests of cavity-nesting bird species (mainly the European roller Coracias garrulus) and in their surroundings. The prevalence and genetic diversity of avian haemosporidians in parous females of both species were explored. Both C. circumscriptus and C. paolae were abundant in the study area and common at European roller nests. Culicoides paolae had a diverse ornithophilic diet, feeding on at least seven bird species. Human DNA was also detected in the blood meal of some individuals. Four Haemoproteus lineages, including a new one reported here for the first time, were isolated from parous females of both biting midges. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Veiga et al (2018) Culicoides paolae and C. circumscriptus as potential vectors of avian haemosporidians in an arid ecosystem. Parasites & Vectors. DOI: 10.1186/s13071-018-3098-8


https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-018-3098-8