Ectoparasitism as a possible cost of sociallife - a comparative analysis using Australian Passerines (Passeriformes)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1992
Authors:A. Poiani
Pagination:429 - 441
Date Published:1992
Keywords:Australia, barn, behavior, bird, breeding, coloniality, cooperative, dynamics, ectoparasite, group, Hirundo, manorina melanophrys, material, miner, nest, parasitism, Passeriformes, populations, size, swallow

The hypothesis that cooperative breeding entails a cost in terms of transmission of ectoparasites was tested by a comparative analysis among sympatric Australian passerines. The general trend found using the allometry method and outgroup analysis indicates that, contagious ectoparasites are not more common on cooperatively breeding than on non-cooperatively breeding hosts. Body weight, migratory patterns and relative abundance of hosts are factors far more important than cooperative breeding that affect the levels of ectoparasitism in the host genera studied. Ectoparasitism increases with host body weight and relative abundance, while sedentary host genera tended to show less hippoboscid fly diversity than migratory host genera. There is an interaction between breeding system and migratory pattern when relative density of contagious ectoparasites (i.e. mites, ticks and bird lice) is considered: the number of contagious ectoparasites per host is larger on cooperatively breeding host genera than on non-cooperatively breeding host genera among sedentary passerines, but the trend is reversed for migrant passerines.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith