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1 February 2009 Feather Mites and Internal Parasites in Small Ground Finches (Geospiza fuliginosa, Emberizidae) From the Galapagos Islands (Equador)
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Abstract

During a parasite survey, we collected data on the presence and distribution of feather mites, intestinal parasites, and blood parasites of small ground finches (Geospiza fuliginosa) from 4 islands in the Galapagos. We recorded 4 species of feather mites, with the most common species, Trouessartia geospiza, present on the majority (77% [308/400]) of individuals. Birds with high loads of T. geospiza came from larger islands and had higher body masses. We identified 3 species of intestinal Isospora (Isospora fragmenta, Isospora temeraria, and Isospora exigua) in fecal samples that showed a diurnal pattern of oocyst release. Among samples collected in the afternoon, infection prevalence was 61% (11/18), while only 0.5% (1/192) contained oocysts in the morning. We screened 40 individuals from one island (Isabela) for blood parasites using molecular markers. Although no parasites of Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon, or Plasmodium were detected, a high proportion of birds (80% [32/40]) had systemic Isospora spp. infections. A high infection prevalence (74% [20/27]), but low infection intensity, was confirmed using optical microscopy. This result could either be due to the detection of a previously unidentified systemic Isospora sp. parasite, or a result of the previously described Isospora spp. parasites causing systemic infections.

Karin M. Lindström, Olga Dolnik, Michael Yabsley, Olof Hellgren, Barry O'Connor, Henrik Pärn, and Johannes Foufopoulos "Feather Mites and Internal Parasites in Small Ground Finches (Geospiza fuliginosa, Emberizidae) From the Galapagos Islands (Equador)," Journal of Parasitology 95(1), 39-45, (1 February 2009). https://doi.org/10.1645/GE-1655.1
Received: 21 April 2008; Accepted: 1 July 2008; Published: 1 February 2009
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