Host-Parasite Interactions between Birds and Feather Mites  

Tawanda Tarakini1,2 , Mikis Bastian1
1 Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT, Leeds, UK
2 Department of Wildlife and Safari Management, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Bag 7724 Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Super Species Research, 2012, Vol. 2, No. 1   doi: 10.5376/ijssr.2012.02.0001
Received: 25 May, 2012    Accepted: 28 Jun., 2012    Published: 05 Jul., 2012
© 2012 BioPublisher Publishing Platform
This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Tarakini and Bastian., 2012, Host-Parasite Interactions between Birds and Feather Mites, International Journal of Super Species Research, 2012, Vol.2, No.1 1-6 (doi: 10.5376/ijssr.2012.02.0001)


There is current uncertainty on whether feather mites are a cause or consequence of poor body condition in birds. We aimed at investigating the bird-mite relationships and elucidating the functional significance of feather mites on birds found on the Urra Field station, Sorbas, in Almeria province, south-east Spain. We captured birds using mist nest and assessed birds for body condition (weight, fat and pectoral muscles), mite distribution on the wings and tested for diurnal changes in mite abundance. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to test for differences in mite abundance across species, sex, age and to test for differences in mite distribution on wings across species while the Fisher`s exact test was used to test for diurnal mite abundance. There were no significant differences in mite abundance between males and females in blackcaps, house sparrows, Sardinian and Willow warblers. There were significant differences in the abundance of mites on Blackcaps, house sparrows, sardinian and willow warblers. This study was carried out just before the breeding season, thus the juveniles may have been “mite-contaminated” by adults during the winter. Also, blackcaps could potentially be carrying different mite species, collected enroute during their migration. With more observational data over different time of day and seasons, investigations could be carried out to describe mite movements depending on varying environmental factors.

Feather mites; Pectoral muscle; Body weight; Fat condition; Mite hosts
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International Journal of Super Species Research
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