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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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Water boatman survival and fecundity are related to ectoparasitism and salinity stress

Water boatman survival and fecundity are related to ectoparasitism and salinity stress

Salinity is increasing in aquatic ecosystems in the Mediterranean region due to global change, and this is likely to have an important impact on host-parasite interactions. Here the relationships between infection by ectoparasitic water mites and salinity variation, on survival and fecundity of water boatmen Corixidae from Doñana National Park was studied in the laboratory. Larvae of Sigara lateralis parasitised by larval mites (Hydrachna skorikowi) had lower survivorship, and failed to moult to the adult stage. In adult corixids (S. lateralis and Corixa affinis) fitness was reduced at high salinities and in individuals infected by H. skorikowi, both in terms of survival and fecundity. Evidence was also found for parasitism-salinity interactions. Results suggest that ongoing increases in salinity in Mediterranean ponds due to climate change and water abstraction for agriculture or urban use have a strong impact on water bugs, and that their interactions with ectoparasites may modify salinity effects. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Céspedes et al (2019) Water boatman survival and fecundity are related to ectoparasitism and salinity stress. PLos ONE. Doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0209828


https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0209828