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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)
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)
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)
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)
The signaling hypothesis of eggshell coloration in birds is based on the assumption that females of species with blue-green eggs signal their phenotypic quality to their mates through deposition of the antioxidant biliverdin as pigment. Egg pigmentation may be an expression of the condition of females at laying or of genetic linkages between egg color and(More)
INTRODUCTION 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. RESULTS From a literature review of hemosporidian prevalence in seabirds, we collated a dataset of 60 species, in which(More)
Among seabirds, the fregatids stand out with a high prevalence of blood parasites. Four of 5 species in this family have been found to be infected with Haemoproteus; however, complete species descriptions with molecular phylogeny are lacking. Seventy-five samples from 4 species of frigatebirds, i.e., Fregata andrewsi, Fregata minor, Fregata magnificens, and(More)
Carotenoids are molecules that birds are not able to synthesize and therefore, must be acquired through their diet. These pigments, besides their function of giving birds red and yellow colouration when deposited in feathers, seem to act as immune-stimulators and antioxidants in the organism. Hence, only the healthiest individuals would be able to express(More)
Some avian species incorporate aromatic plants to their nests. The "nest protection hypothesis", which posits that volatile secondary compounds contained in these plants may have antiparasite properties, has not received full support. All previous tests of this hypothesis have only considered effects on nest-dwelling ectoparasites, but not on blood-sucking(More)
This article describes a new pentastomid species from the abdominal air sacs of a black vulture (Aegypius monachus Linnaeus, 1766) from central Spain. The parasite's morphological characteristics (as shown by light and scanning electron microscopy) suggest that it should be classified in the new genus. It is the third pentastomid species described in birds(More)