Absence of blood parasites in birds occurring in polar regions is believed to be a common phenomenon but only few surveys have been conducted on truly polar bird species. We examined blood parasites in a seabird with an exclusively high-Arctic breeding distribution, the Little Auk (Alle alle). Polymerase chain reaction was used to detect haemosporidians and traditional optical microscopy was used to detect a wider range of haematozoans in birds breeding on Svalbard (Norway). No blood parasites were found among 100 birds examined. This finding confirms scarcity of haematozoa in polar regions and provides baseline data for the Little Auk.
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Vol. 46 • No. 2