Prevalence of avian haemosporidian parasites and their host fidelity in the central Philippine islands.


We examined the prevalence and host fidelity of avian haemosporidian parasites belonging to the genera Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon and Plasmodium in the central Philippine islands by sampling 23 bird families (42 species). Using species-specific PCR assays of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (471 base pairs, bp), we detected infections in 91 of the 215 screened individuals (42%). We also discriminated between single and multiple infections. Thirty-one infected individuals harbored a single Haemoproteus lineage (14%), 18 a single Leucocytozoon lineage (8%) and 12 a single Plasmodium lineage (6%). Of the 215 screened birds, 30 (14%) presented different types of multiple infections. Intrageneric mixed infections were generally more common (18 Haemoproteus/Haemoproteus, 3 Leucocytozoon/Leucocytozoon, and 1 Plasmodium/Plasmodium) than intergeneric mixed infections (7 Haemoproteus/Leucocytozoon and 1 Haemoproteus/Leucocytozoon/Plasmodium). We recovered 81 unique haemosporidian mitochondrial haplotypes. These clustered in three strongly supported monophyletic clades that correspond to the three haemosporidian genera. Related lineages of Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon were more likely to derive from the same host family than predicted by chance; however, this was not the case for Plasmodium. These results indicate that switches between host families are more likely to occur in Plasmodium. We conclude that Haemoproteus has undergone a recent diversification across well-supported host-family specific clades, while Leucocytozoon shows a longer association with its host(s). This study supports previous evidence of a higher prevalence and stronger host-family specificity of Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon compared to Plasmodium.

DOI: 10.1016/j.parint.2012.07.003

Cite this paper

@article{SilvaIturriza2012PrevalenceOA, title={Prevalence of avian haemosporidian parasites and their host fidelity in the central Philippine islands.}, author={Adriana Silva-Iturriza and Valerio Ketmaier and Ralph Tiedemann}, journal={Parasitology international}, year={2012}, volume={61 4}, pages={650-7} }