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Variation in haematozoan parasitism at local and landscape levels in the red-billed quelea Quelea quelea

Variation in haematozoan parasitism at local and landscape levels in the red-billed quelea Quelea quelea

Durrant, Kate L., Reed, Jennifer L., Jones, Peter J., Dallimer, Martin, Cheke, Robert A. ORCID: 0000-0002-7437-1934, McWilliam, Andrew N. and Fleischer, Robert C. (2007) Variation in haematozoan parasitism at local and landscape levels in the red-billed quelea Quelea quelea. Journal of Avian Biology, 38 (6). pp. 662-671. ISSN 0908-8857 (doi:10.1111/j.0908-8857.2007.04034.x)

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Abstract

The red-billed quelea Quelea quelea, one of the most abundant birds in the world, presents two fundamental
conundrums that we investigate here with a novel approach using blood parasite assemblages at two spatial
scales, landscape and individual. The quelea of southern Africa Q. q. lathamii are split by a hypothesized
migratory divide, where birds follow rain fronts in one of two directions (NW or SE). This divide is not
detectable in the host population using microsatellite data, and here we show that it is also not apparent from
our large-scale phylogeographical analyses of the haematozoan parasite. At a finer scale, the colourful and
variable breeding plumage of male red-billed quelea has not previously shown a correlation with predictors of
quality, as it does in many other bird species. The male’s breeding plumage is partially based on carotenoid
colouration, the quality of which has been correlated with haematozoan infection in other bird species.
However, we found no correlation between intensity of male carotenoid colouration and haematozoan infection.
Our results do not contradict the hypothesis that male breeding plumage in this species serves to identify
individuals rather than to indicate quality. Finally, we recovered the greatest number of haematozoan lineages
from any phylogenetic survey of a single host species to date. Understanding the reasons for the extreme diversity
of parasite lineages in this species may assist in explaining the success of the red-billed quelea in anthropogenic landscapes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: avian malaria parasites, plumage coloration, blood parasites, house finches, prevalence, infection, africa, host, immunocompetence, carotenoids
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2011 12:06
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/2370

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