Blood parasites in noddies and boobies from Brazilian offshore islands : differences between species and influence of nesting habitat




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Seabirds are often free from blood parasites, and a recent review suggested that phylogenetic, ecological and life-history parameters can determine the prevalence of blood parasites in seabirds. However, there is a lack of data available frommany seabird groups, and a larger database is needed to understand prevalence patterns of blood parasites. We used a molecular screening approach to detect parasites of the genera Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon and Babesia in five species of two genera of seabirds that breed on Atlantic Ocean islands off Brazil. The observed patterns differed between the two bird genera. Like other Laridae, brown noddy, Anous stolidus adults were infected with Haemoproteus with low prevalence. Masked boobies, Sula dactylatra and brown boobies, Sula leucogaster were infected with Babesia. Of the latter, mainly juveniles were infected. In all species, intensity of infection (i.e. number of infected erythrocytes) was so low that parasites remained undetected in blood smears. This may explain the absence of major effects on the body condition of birds, although infected juvenile masked boobies were lighter than juveniles that were not infected with Babesia. Two tree-nesting species; black noddy, Anous minutus and red-footed booby, Sula sula did not have blood parasites, suggesting that treenesting may reduce the exposure to arthropod vectors compared with ground nesting in these species.




Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich. This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.

Erstpublikation in

undefined (2014)




Erstpublikation in

Parasitology 141(3): 399-410, doi:10.1017/S0031182013001649 (published online: 07 Nov. 2013)