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The Hamilton and Zuk hypothesis on haemoparasite-mediated sexual selection and certain studies of reproductive costs are based on the assumption that avian blood parasite infections are detrimental to their hosts. However, there is no experimental evidence demonstrating harmful effects of blood parasites on fitness in wild populations, it even having been(More)
Avian Plasmodium and Haemoproteus parasites are easily detected by DNA analyses of infected samples but only correctly assigned to each genus by sequencing and use of a phylogenetic approach. Here, we present a restriction site to differentiate between both parasite genera avoiding the use of those analyses. Alignments of 820 sequences currently listed in(More)
The major histcompatibility complex (MHC) is a vital component of the adaptive immune system in all vertebrates. This study is the first to characterize MHC class I (MHC-I) in blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), and we use MHC-I exon 3 sequence data from individuals originating from three locations across Europe: Spain, the Netherlands to Sweden. Our phylogeny(More)
Although avian malarial parasites are globally distributed, the factors that affect the geographical distribution and local prevalence of different parasite lineages across host populations or species are still poorly understood. Based on the intense screening of avian malarial parasites in nine European blue tit populations, we studied whether distribution(More)
Parasites have been argued to influence clutch size evolution, but past work and theory has largely focused on within-species optimization solutions rather than clearly addressing among-species variation. The effects of parasites on clutch size variation among species can be complex, however, because different parasites can induce age-specific differences(More)
Sociality is associated with increased risks of parasitism, predation, and social competition, which may interact because social stress can reduce immunity, and parasitized individuals are more likely to fall prey to a predator. A mechanism allowing evolution of sociality in spite of high costs of parasitism is increased investment in antiparasite defenses.(More)
As a continuation of our studies on molecular epizootiology of piroplasmosis in Spain and other countries, we present in this contribution the finding of new hosts for some piroplasms, as well as information on their 18S rRNA gene sequences. Genetic data were complemented with sequences of apocytochrome b gene (whenever possible). The following conclusions(More)
Compared to non-flying nest-dwelling ectoparasites, the biology of most species of flying ectoparasites and its potential impact on avian hosts is poorly known and rarely, if ever, reported. In this study we explore for the first time the factors that may affect biting midge (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) and black fly (Diptera: Simuliidae) abundances in the(More)
Parasitism is a common cause of host mortality, but little is known about the ecological factors affecting parasite virulence (the rate of mortality among infected hosts). We reviewed 117 field estimates of parasite-induced nestling mortality in birds, showing that there was significant consistency in mortality among host and parasite taxa. Virulence(More)
Abstract We investigated determinants of the physiological stress response mediated by stress proteins in blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus nestlings growing up in oak forests in central Spain, resulting from different forest management practices. We assessed circulating levels of the heat-shock protein HSP60 as an integrated physiological measure of the(More)