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Seasonal dynamics in mosquito abundance and temperature do not influence avian malaria prevalence in the Himalayan foothills

Ishtiaq, Farah and Bowden, Christopher GR and Jhala, Yadvendradev V (2017) Seasonal dynamics in mosquito abundance and temperature do not influence avian malaria prevalence in the Himalayan foothills. In: ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 7 (19). pp. 8040-8057.

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Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3319


We examined seasonal prevalence in avian haemosporidians (Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) in migrant and resident birds in western Himalaya, India. We investigated how infection with haemosporidians in avian hosts is associated with temporal changes in temperature and mosquito abundance along with host abundance and life-history traits (body mass). Using molecular methods for parasite detection and sequencing partial cytochrome b gene, 12 Plasmodium and 27 Haemoproteus lineages were isolated. Our 1-year study from December 2008 to December 2009 in tropical Himalayan foothills revealed a lack of seasonal variation in Plasmodium spp. prevalence in birds despite a strong correlation between mosquito abundance and temperature. The probability of infection with Plasmodium decreased with increase in temperature. Total parasite prevalence and specifically Plasmodium prevalence showed an increase with average avian body mass. In addition, total prevalence exhibited a U-shaped relationship with avian host abundance. There was no difference in prevalence of Plasmodium spp. or Haemoproteus spp. across altitudes; parasite prevalence in high-altitude locations was mainly driven by the seasonal migrants. One Haemoproteus lineage showed cross-species infections between migrant and resident birds. This is the first molecular study in the tropical Himalayan bird community that emphasizes the importance of studying seasonal variation in parasite prevalence. Our study provides a basis for further evolutionary study on the epidemiology of avian malaria and spread of disease across Himalayan bird communities, which may not have been exposed to vectors and parasites throughout the year, with consequential implications to the risk of infection to naive resident birds in high altitude.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the WILEY, 111 RIVER ST, HOBOKEN 07030-5774, NJ USA
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2017 03:37
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2019 12:38
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/58099

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