Blood parasitaemia in a high latitude flexible breeder, the white-winged crossbill, Loxia leucoptera: Contribution of seasonal relapse versus new inoculations

Pierre Deviche, H. B. Fokidis, B. Lerbour, E. Greiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

We measured seasonal changes in the prevalence of haematozoa (Leucocytozoon fringillinarum, Haemoproteus fringillae, and Trypanosoma avium) in free-ranging White-winged Crossbills, Loxia leucoptera, over 1.5 year in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA. This prevalence was low during early winter. L. fringillinarum prevalence increased in late winter/early spring, in the absence of vectors, suggesting relapse of latent infection. By contrast, the prevalence of T. avium and H. fringillae did not increase until mid-spring, coincident with the emergence of putative vectors and suggestive of new inoculations. The winter breeding period was not associated with lower body condition or elevated blood heterophil/lymphocyte ratios than the summer post-breeding period. Thus, birds unlikely perceived their breeding effort as particularly stressful. Adult males in May and June had low plasma testosterone and their blood prevalence of L. fringillinarum, but not other haemoparasites, was higher than in adult females. This difference may have resulted from sex differences in behaviour and/or plumage colouration - bright red in males, dull green/yellow in females. Species in which reproduction and vector abundance are seasonally dissociated may constitute important models for investigating the respective contribution of reproductive hormones, breeding effort, and vector abundance to patent and latent hemoparasitic infections and to new inoculations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-273
Number of pages13
JournalParasitology
Volume137
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010

Keywords

  • Haemoproteus
  • Leucocytozoon
  • Reproduction
  • Sex difference
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Testosterone
  • Trypanosoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Infectious Diseases

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