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1 March 2012 Are Lice Associated with Ring-Billed Gull Chick Immune Responses?
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Abstract

Little is known about whether chewing lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) suppress or activate immunity in birds. Here, relationships between lice (Quadraceps punctatus, Saemundsonnia lari and Austromenopon transversum) and immune parameters were evaluated in Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) chicks. Eosinophils made up greater proportions of leukocytes in chicks with more lice (partial r = 0.64, P < 0.001), suggesting louse-induced immunoactivation via either eosinophil production or redistribution to peripheral blood. However, there were no significant relationships between lice and other immune parameters (proportion heterophils, proportion lymphocytes, heterophil:lymphocyte ratio, response to injection with phytohaemagglutinin). Collectively, results suggest only minor immune responses to lice, but experimental manipulations of louse infestations are needed to better quantify these responses and evaluate their potential consequences for fitness.

Evan R. Fairn, Nicolas R. McLellan, and Dave Shutler "Are Lice Associated with Ring-Billed Gull Chick Immune Responses?," Waterbirds 35(1), 164-169, (1 March 2012). https://doi.org/10.1675/063.035.0118
Received: 17 June 2011; Accepted: 1 December 2011; Published: 1 March 2012
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