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A jack-of-all-trades and still a master of some: prevalence and host range in avian malaria and related blood parasites

Hellgren, Olof LU ; Perez-Tris, Javier LU and Bensch, Staffan LU (2009) In Ecology 90(10). p.2840-2849
Abstract
A parasite's ability to be a specialist vs. a generalist may have consequences for its prevalence within one or more if its host species. In this study we investigated the relationship between host specialization and prevalence in the highly species diverse avian blood parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus. Contrary to trade-off hypotheses that may explain host specialization, within both genera the parasites with the ability to complete their life cycles and be transmitted across a wide host range ( broad compatibility) were also the most common parasites within their compatible host species. These patterns remained unchanged when the host species with the highest prevalence were excluded, which reduces the possibility that... (More)
A parasite's ability to be a specialist vs. a generalist may have consequences for its prevalence within one or more if its host species. In this study we investigated the relationship between host specialization and prevalence in the highly species diverse avian blood parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus. Contrary to trade-off hypotheses that may explain host specialization, within both genera the parasites with the ability to complete their life cycles and be transmitted across a wide host range ( broad compatibility) were also the most common parasites within their compatible host species. These patterns remained unchanged when the host species with the highest prevalence were excluded, which reduces the possibility that the observed pattern was caused by parasites reaching high prevalence in a single main host, and being "spilled over" to other host species. We hypothesize that a positive relationship between parasite host range and prevalence might be explained by an overall higher encounter rate for the parasites with broad host range, which compensates for possibly reduced performance of parasites in each host species. Overall, these results show that parasites with the ability to successfully infect a wide variety of host species of broad ancestry also can have the ability to be the most prevalent in single host species. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
host-parasite interaction, haemosporidians, Haemoproteus, encounter rate, blood parasites, avian malaria, Plasmodium, host range, specialists vs. generalists, prevalence
in
Ecology
volume
90
issue
10
pages
2840 - 2849
publisher
Ecological Society of America
external identifiers
  • wos:000270274200019
  • scopus:70349937800
ISSN
0012-9658
DOI
10.1890/08-1059.1
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
49f02673-358e-44cc-a558-d84a9b6549c0 (old id 1489768)
date added to LUP
2009-10-21 11:57:09
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:42:44
@article{49f02673-358e-44cc-a558-d84a9b6549c0,
  abstract     = {A parasite's ability to be a specialist vs. a generalist may have consequences for its prevalence within one or more if its host species. In this study we investigated the relationship between host specialization and prevalence in the highly species diverse avian blood parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus. Contrary to trade-off hypotheses that may explain host specialization, within both genera the parasites with the ability to complete their life cycles and be transmitted across a wide host range ( broad compatibility) were also the most common parasites within their compatible host species. These patterns remained unchanged when the host species with the highest prevalence were excluded, which reduces the possibility that the observed pattern was caused by parasites reaching high prevalence in a single main host, and being "spilled over" to other host species. We hypothesize that a positive relationship between parasite host range and prevalence might be explained by an overall higher encounter rate for the parasites with broad host range, which compensates for possibly reduced performance of parasites in each host species. Overall, these results show that parasites with the ability to successfully infect a wide variety of host species of broad ancestry also can have the ability to be the most prevalent in single host species.},
  author       = {Hellgren, Olof and Perez-Tris, Javier and Bensch, Staffan},
  issn         = {0012-9658},
  keyword      = {host-parasite interaction,haemosporidians,Haemoproteus,encounter rate,blood parasites,avian malaria,Plasmodium,host range,specialists vs. generalists,prevalence},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {10},
  pages        = {2840--2849},
  publisher    = {Ecological Society of America},
  series       = {Ecology},
  title        = {A jack-of-all-trades and still a master of some: prevalence and host range in avian malaria and related blood parasites},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/08-1059.1},
  volume       = {90},
  year         = {2009},
}