Santiago Merino

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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)
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)
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)
We report a field study of the haematocrit of pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) nestlings when close to fledging. First a descriptive study was conducted of both fledgling and adult haematocrit over 2 years to analyse correlates of variation in this trait. Then a swapping experiment was performed to see whether variation among fledglings had a measurable(More)
Previous studies have found strong relationships between calcium availability and eggshell pigmentation in the Great Tit (Parus major). According to the “structural function hypothesis”, protoporphyrins, the pigments responsible for reddish spots on speckled eggs, are deposited in those areas of the shell where calcium deposition is less intense. In the(More)
While blood parasites are common in many birds in the wild, some groups seem to be much less affected. Seabirds, in particular, have often been reported free from blood parasites, even in the presence of potential vectors. From a literature review of hemosporidian prevalence in seabirds, we collated a dataset of 60 species, in which at least 15 individuals(More)
Juan Moreno, Elisa Lobato, Judith Morales, Santiago Merino, Gustavo Tomás, Josué Martı́nez-de la Puente, Juan J. Sanz, Rafael Mateo, and Juan J. Soler Departamento de Ecologı́a Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), J. Gutiérrez Abascal 2, E-28006 Madrid, Spain, Instituto de Investigación en(More)
In the present study we detected Schellackia haemoparasites infecting the blood cells of Lacerta schreiberi and Podarcis hispanica, two species of lacertid lizards from central Spain. The parasite morphometry, the presence of a refractile body, the type of infected blood cells, the kind of host species, and the lack of oocysts in the fecal samples clearly(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)