The ectoparasites of hybrid ducks in New Zealand (Mallard x Grey Duck)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2018
Authors:M. Bulgarella, Quenu, M., Shepherd, L. D., Morgan-Richards, M.
Journal:International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife
Pagination:335 - 342
Keywords:chewing lice, ectoparasites, Hybrids, mtDNA, new zealand, Transmission, Waterfowl

We studied the population genetics of one population sample of hybrid Mallard x Grey Ducks and their lice in New Zealand. We aimed to document the relationship between ectoparasite load and host phenotype, and test for an association between the mtDNA diversity of the lice and their hosts, which is predicted based on maternal care. We found three feather lice species previously described for these hosts: Anaticola crassicornis (wing louse), Anatoecus dentatus (head louse), and Trinoton querquedulae (body louse). No new or rare lice species were un- covered. Most ducks in our sample were more Mallard-like than Grey Duck-like hybrids for the five colour and plumage traits examined. We confirm that based solely on phenotypic characters it is difficult to distinguish between Mallards, hybrids and Grey Ducks. We detected no association between the number of lice and host phenotype for two of the three louse species (while controlling for bird size). However, the Grey Duck-like hybrids had fewer head lice (A. dentatus) than their Mallard-like counterparts. Only three of the 40 hosts had mtDNA haplotypes that characterise Grey Ducks. We present the first genetic data of Anaticola crassicornis, Anatoecus dentatus and Trinoton querquedulae from New Zealand waterfowl. We found that the lice mtDNA had greater sequence diversity than the homologous gene for the ducks. A mitochondrial phylogeny for A. crassicornis collected from hosts worldwide has been previously published, and we added our novel data to infer evolu- tionary relationships among worldwide populations of this louse. None of the three lice species showed a close association of parasite and host mtDNA lineage despite lack of paternal care in these duck species.

Short Title:International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife
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