The helminth community composition and structure of 6 species of columbids residing in south Texas are reported and compared herein. Sixty individuals of the following species, rock pigeons (Columba livia [RP]), mourning doves (Zenaida macroura [MD]), Eurasian collared-doves (Streptopelia decaocto [ECD]), white-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica [WWD]), and common ground doves (Columbina passerina [CGD]), and 48 Inca doves (Columbina inca [ID]) were collected during the summer of 2006 and examined for helminths. Twelve helminth species were found (9 nematodes and 3 cestodes), representing 486 individuals. Nematodes numerically dominated the component community in all host species. Overall, helminth prevalence was similar among host sex within all dove species. However, prevalence of Skrjabinia bonini and Hymenolepis sp. in RPs was significantly different among host age groups (P = 0.01, P = 0.0002, respectively). Likewise, prevalence of Killigrewia delafondi was higher (P = 0.0001) in adult WWDs. Based on percent similarity and Jaccard's coefficient of community indices, helminth component communities were dissimilar, and the number of shared helminth species varied among host species. Data from this study suggest that the environment surrounding preferred host habitat and foraging strategies of each host species is the driving force behind helminth component communities. This study emphasizes the importance of examining co-occurring hosts at both local and regional scales to elucidate helminth community structure and patterns.
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Vol. 98 • No. 1