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Vertebrate immune responses to ectoparasites influence pathogen transmission and host fitness costs. Few studies have characterized natural immune responses to ectoparasites and resultant fitness effects on the ectoparasite. These are critical gaps in understanding vertebrate-ectoparasite interaction, disease ecology and host-parasite co-adaptation. This(More)
Ecological immunology is a rapidly expanding field of research that attempts to explain variation in immune function across individuals, populations and species. Birds and ectoparasitic arthropods have frequently been used in attempts to measure the cost of immune function in relation to adult condition, nestling growth and other life history challenges.(More)
Research on immune function in evolutionary ecology has frequently focused on avian ectoparasites (e.g., mites and lice). However, host immunogenetics involved with bird resistance to ectoparasites has not been determined. The critical role of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in adaptive immunity and high genetic variation found within the MHC(More)
Establishment and spread of Ornithonyssus sylviarum were documented through time on sentinel hens (50 per house of 28,000-30,000 hens) in the first egg production cycle of three large commercial flocks (12 houses) of white leghorn hens. Mites were controlled using acaricide, and the impacts of treatment on mite populations and economic performance were(More)
Conclusion In an ideal world, there would be enough islands with different populations of crickets and parasites to provide replicated tests of the association between parasites and silent males, as Zuk et al. [1] have shown a correlated rather than causal relationship. However, it is clear that crickets on Kauai have undergone extremely rapid evolution of(More)
Ecological immunology aims to explain variation among hosts in the strength and efficacy of immunological defenses. However, a shortcoming has been the failure to link host immune responses to actual parasites under natural conditions. Here, we present one of the first experimental demonstrations of a parasite-induced immune response in a wild bird(More)
Blood-feeding arthropods can harm their hosts in many ways, such as through direct tissue damage and anemia, but also by distracting hosts from foraging or watching for predators. Blood-borne pathogens transmitted by arthropods can further harm the host. Thus, effective behavioral and immunological defenses against blood-feeding arthropods may provide(More)
The northern fowl mite (NFM; Ornithonyssus sylviarum) is a blood-feeding ectoparasite of birds and a major pest of poultry in the United States. Mite populations spread rapidly in commercial flocks, reach peak burdens of >70,000 mites per bird and have developed resistance to many pesticides. Despite decades as a pest in the United States, the reproductive(More)
BACKGROUND Maternal antibodies are believed to play an integral role in protecting immunologically immature wild-passerines from environmental antigens. This study comprehensively examines the early development of the adaptive immune system in an altricial-developing wild passerine species, the house sparrow (Passer domestics), by characterizing the(More)
BACKGROUND Invasive parasites are a major threat to island populations of animals. Darwin's finches of the Galápagos Islands are under attack by introduced pox virus (Poxvirus avium) and nest flies (Philornis downsi). We developed assays for parasite-specific antibody responses in Darwin's finches (Geospiza fortis), to test for relationships between(More)