Abiotic factors have been reported to cause variation in parasite pressure among host populations, but such relationships have not been studied in detail, and conflicting evidence exists about the nature of these relationships. Here we study within- and between-population variation in chewing lice parasitization in an arid bird species, the Trumpeter finch (Bucanetes githagineus), and the influence of ambient humidity on parasite load. We found a high prevalence of 2 chewing lice even in particularly dry years and a positive effect of humidity on prevalence at a monthly scale. Nonetheless, our results clearly reveal that lice can become abundant at low ambient humidity conditions and that birds in arid environments are not necessarily under lower ectoparasitic pressure than birds in humid regions. We suggest that lice may adapt their life cycle to overcome the most critical period by synchronizing the more resistant phase (eggs) to the period when relative humidity is lowest (i.e., summertime). We stress that studies on the effect of ecological factors on host–parasite relationships should consider detailed aspects of the life cycle of the latter and the main biological traits of the different stages of the parasites.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 14 • No. 2